I remember it so vividly it's actually quite sad. One day in 1988, I was browsing through cassingles at my local Sam Goody and stumbled upon a Billboard chart that was posted up alongside the racks and racks and racks of tapes. I was pretty hip on the latest tunes (as I am now) and was taken aback that I'd never heard of one of the top ten songs that week: Paula Abdul's "Straight Up." Baffled, I remember shouting across the aisles "who the hell is Paula Abdul?" to my sister. Days, maybe hours, later, I'd soon learn all about the "Forever Your Girl," um, girl. Why am I talking about the famed choreographer, singer, and eventual American Idol host? Immaturity really. In 1991, she had a hit single called "Rush Rush," and the artist we have on A-Sides today has a clear future hit with a song that rhymes called "Hush Hush." Look further, however, and the comparisons to Abdul become more valid. Work with me here.
Asher Monroe is a lot like Abdul in that he's an accomplished singer and dancer. OK, using the words "a lot" is a stretch. Unlike the former Laker girl, the 24 year old writes a lot of his own stuff, co-produces it as well, and doesn't need to dance with an animated Skat Cat. Plus, he's already a veteran in the industry - having been a former boy band member of V Factory. As a solo artist, Monroe has been listed as one of MTV's "Top 10 Artists to Watch," and his single "Here With You" took flight and helped propel him into the pop stratosphere. His debut album, which will drop later this summer, will feature collaborations with hit maker Ryan Tedder (of OneRepublic), Chris Brown, and Sean Kingston just to name a few.
Last month, Monroe stopped by the Music Conservatory of Westchester to film an A-Sides session. From their recital hall, he performed his new single "Hush Hush," discussed the writing process behind it, and the powerful music video which he filmed in Bosnia with Oscar-winner Danis Tanovic at the helm. In contrast, by the way, the "Rush Rush" video of that singer I once crushed on featured Keanu Reeves in a terrible Rebel Without a Cause rip-off. Anyway, you can watch that music video as well as the live performance of it below. In addition, check out part one of the interview with the humble, wise-beyond-his-years star as well. Jump here for part deux of the interview where Monroe opens up about working with Chris Brown. Watch. Listen. Love.
"Hush Hush" A-Sides Performance
Asher Monroe Interview, Part One
"Hush Hush" Official Music Video
About A-Sides Music
Jon Chattman's "A-Sides Music" series usually features artists (established or not) from all genres performing a track, and discussing what it means to them. This informal series focuses on the artist making art in a low-threatening, extremely informal (sometimes humorous) way. No bells, no whistles -- just the music performed in a random, low-key setting followed by an unrehearsed chat. In an industry where everything often gets overblown and over manufactured, I'm hoping this is refreshing. A-Sides celebrates its two-year anniversary with a concert in White Plains, NY on Saturday, July 27 featuring Kopecky Family Band. Get your tickets here.