Ashley Wool wrote her first song at the age of 7, to accompany a “butterfly rock star” character she conceived for Halloween that year. Her one-of-a-kind theatrical instincts have informed her artistry ever since. As a freshman at SUNY Geneseo–where she was one of five students in the inaugural class of the school’s newly-designed musical theatre major–she released an EP of original songs, Not Otherwise Specified, which she funded by washing dishes in her school dining hall. Recorded in an old brick building that was formerly the town poorhouse and asylum, on eight tracks with live instrumentation and no frills, her “little record that could” gained airplay on numerous radio stations and podcasts, including Sirius XMU, Live365 and Broadcast Asylum, securing her a comfortable niche in the independent music scene. She even received nominations for Indie Song of the Year and Indie Artist of the Year at the Musiqtone Musiqwards–she lost both categories to Hanson, but since they’re her favorite band and one of her earliest musical inspirations, she wasn’t mad.
Ashley stepped out of the indie music world after college to focus on theatre, and has since built a dynamic resume of critically-acclaimed performances in the NYC and tri-state area. She received a BroadwayWorld Award nomination for playing a gender-bent Simon Zealotes in Jesus Christ Superstar with Madison Lyric Stage, as well as an OnStage Critics Award nomination for playing Wednesday Addams in the Westchester regional premiere of The Addams Family. Some of her other favorite roles include Evita in Evita, Amy in Company, and Kira/Clio in Xanadu (twice).
But in 2016, after a tumultuous personal year further heightened by the intensifying socio-political climate surrounding her and her fellow artists, her songwriting muse returned with a vengeance, and she knew it was time to get back in the studio. In collaboration with producer Gabriel Pressman and industrial pop-rock performer Garek, the pieces began falling together for an album of new material and so Boycott Ashley Wool was born. The title originated as a cheeky nod to some Internet trolls, but in the context of the album it takes on a deeper meaning as a commentary about defiance, rebellion, calling people out, and calling yourself out. Themes of insecurity, privilege, and betrayal play out over catchy pop hooks fused with industrial and punk influences–and of course, plenty of theatrical flair.
She is, after all, still a butterfly rock star on the inside–just older, wiser, and hopefully woker.
Ashley released the first single from her new collection, “Half of My Life,” on January 6, 2020.