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From One University Student to Another: Kassi Ashton

Arts And Entertainment Features

From One University Student to Another: Kassi Ashton


“I would not take back my college experience for anything.”

On April 21, Kassi Ashton, spunky country singer/songwriter from California, Missouri took the stage at the 2nd Annual Two Step Inn festival in Georgetown, Texas. 

Donning her self-made bright purple vest and feisty leopard pants, Ashton opened the 12:00 p.m. show with her 2024 album title track, “Called Crazy.” After a sassy show full of fun covers like Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon,” and angsty originals like “Drive You Out Of My Mind,” Ashton popped the tab on her Coke can and sat back to talk about the significance of her college experience with The Megaphone.

Although not initially planning to go to school, Ashton enrolled at Belmont University upon her grandma’s insistence. “So thank God for Grandma,” Ashton states when reflecting on the start of her musical career. Ashton won her initial publishing deal through a showcase at Belmont the semester before she graduated. A year later she signed labels with MCA Nashville and Interscope Records. Attending Belmont was pivotal to her stardom.

Editor in Chief Ash Delias interviews Kassi Ashton, photo by Carolyn Bray

University teaches vital information

Ashton’s college experience is unique to the music industry; university doesn’t just have to be for pre-med or law students, it’s also valuable to those in creative industries–“you get out what you put into it,” she comments.

Ashton claims she owes her throat health to the lessons she was taught at Belmont. “I don’t lose my voice,” she confides. “I mean, unless I’m sick…I don’t lose my voice from long shows or late nights or singing too often, you learn how to warm up, you learn how to cool down, you learn the anatomy behind it, it’s just there are things that you get in a college experience condensed that you would not get in the real world in that short amount of time.”

Ashton also found that “blow-off” classes can be some of the most important.

“We had a class called Jazz styles, and everyone thought it was a blow-off class. And it was all about like, basically imitating classic jazz singers, and how can you use the sounds that they make and apply it to your own sound? And that was one of the most pivotal classes for me in understanding how my instrument works, not just pushing breath through vocal cords. But how does my instrument work?”

Her jazz class was another prime example that you get out what you put into university.

Ashton performing, photo by Carolyn Bray

Don’t get stuck in the academic bubble

Ashton put a lot of effort into her classes and got a lot of valuable experiences and lessons out of them. However, she cautions, “don’t get stuck in the academic bubble.” 

“We love to make music, and we want to share art, but it’s still a business…we’re all in it to make money at the end of the day,” Ashton explains. “It’s about riding that line between academic success and commercial success.”

She advises students not to be afraid of their professors or missing classes because of career-related opportunities. 

“I hope you can hear me. I hope that teachers in those programs–they would be happy if you got a B because you were too busy…getting real-life experience than if you just stayed in your dorm and got an A, do you know what I’m saying?”

In her own time at University, Ashton practiced balance and flirted with this line as well.

“When you’re at a liberal arts school, you want to take all of the rules into your brain and do your homework and do the best you can but also go ‘hey, what part of this will I actually use in my career? And what part of this do I just need to know the answer for a test?’”

Experience and academia are both vital for a student to flourish in their desired career.

Whether you’re an aspiring rocket scientist or a passionate musician, there’s no one formula for career success. Kassi Ashton is a breath of fresh air, authentically displaying that there are many different routes to an end destination. No matter where you find yourself, you’re going to get out what you put into it, as Ashton emphasized. What is most beautiful about Ashton’s persona and artistry is her ability to dance in the gray area and not box herself in. 

In continuing the conversation about her unique experiences Ashton stated, “We’re not here to listen to pretty powdery things. We want real life. That’s why we listen to music.” Well, Kassi Ashton, you’re right about that, and you are why we listen to music.

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