Those of you who listened to Radio Disney in the late 2000s will no doubt remember 2009’s “Love Struck,” by R&B boy band V Factory. It was played on heavy rotation, and featured the vocals of lead singer Asher Monroe.
Well, its been a few years since Asher left the band (he departed in 2010), so what has he been up to since then? Well, he was named one of MTV’s Top Ten Artists, appeared on the cover of Billboard, worked with Chris Brown and Ryan Tedder, and has been on several TV shows and Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast and Sound of Music, among others.
Recently, he released his first solo album, titled Inner Warrior, and recorded an emotional music video for the song “Sail On.” We got the chance to ask Asher a few questions, check out the interview below! (photos by Steven Gomillion, except selfie at end)
Hi Asher, nice to e-meet you! Let’s get right into your new release, a full length album called Inner Warrior. Who do you think this music is going to appeal to most?
I hope my music appeals to a wide range of listeners. I think all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds can and will enjoy my music. I’ve got a little something for everyone – up-tempo, funky, slow, ballads, happy, sad.
The title Inner Warrior brings to mind some kind of struggle. Are you referencing some personal hurdles you’ve had to overcome? If so, what?
Yes, you got it! I went through many stages, interests, and high and lows to get this album out. Nothing too serious, but I think most artists would agree with me before they put out their first album. In the beginning, I didn’t know exactly what to write about, or what style I wanted to categorize myself in, because I wanted to try anything and everything. I always felt like I brought a lot of value to the table, but eventually I had to pick a lane and go for it 100%. Also, getting the songs to sound like they do on the album wasn’t an overnight process. Every version started off with a simple melody, chord, basic track, or lyric. Then you start adding little by little. Eventually you just have to say it’s done and move on to the next. If I could go back, I would have finished more songs that I started. It’s hard to get in the emotional place of a song you need to finish that was written a few years ago. All in all, I don’t regret the process, but it’s a learning curve and all I’m doing is working on a better version of myself and being more open to share with the world.
Your single “Unpredictable” was debuted by Elton John on his Rocket Hour show, and it seems you guys go way back. How did you two meet, and how did he become a mentor for you?
I have known Elton and his husband David for about eight years. We first met in LA with a few mutual friends, and our friendship has stayed great throughout the years. I can remember all the way back to when i was five years old in the back of my friends car listening to Elton’s cd’s. His music has always done so much for me in terms of inspiration. Every time I’m at the piano I try to channel a little bit of Elton. I look up to him as a big brother and will always love and respect that man. He has done so many wonderful things and boy oh boy is he a workaholic. He has so much energy at his age. It’s his passion for music that keeps him doing it night after night.
Apart from Elton, who else do you consider a mentor?
I have a great team and people in my life that I feel look out for my best interest and always want the best for me. It hasn’t always been like that. There are some people, friends, and colleagues I still talk to and others have gone in different directions. My home life is very important to me and always staying grounded in this industry has helped keep me sane.
I know you have a love of classics like Otis Redding and Stevie Wonder, but what MODERN music artists are you feeling these days?
I like Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, Twenty One Pilots, and Rihanna.
Do you still keep in touch with any of the guys from V Factory?
I’ll check in with Wes every once in a while. I know Nicky is still teaching dance. I run into Jared every blue moon usually at something really random. And I have not talked to Nathaniel in years. I love those guys and I always wish them well.
What’s the biggest lesson your learned from your boy-band days?
I learned a lot about the studio recording process. I remember one time blowing my voice when Warner Brothers sent me to Sweden to record. I had experience singing on Broadway and many different opportunities but I had never been tracked by a producer before. I would sing for hours, take after take, and never asked the producer for a five minute vocal break. I ended up losing my voice and had to be flown out again the second time. Ha! These are the things you learn along the way. And of course, never to go anywhere without my throat coat tea. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, its a little vocal coach trick. 🙂
Craziest fan experience you have ever had?
I’ve had fans who have tattooed my logo on their body! It’s pretty crazy but fans are fans for a reason. You gotta love ‘em!
Our audience is mostly teenagers. If you could travel back in time and give your teenage self ONE piece of advice, what would it be?
Don’t waste any good opportunities, and work your ass off! Whatever you do, stay positive through the whole experience. Enjoy the highs and lows. Trust me, they make you a better person in the end. You are exactly where you are supposed to be right now. God has big plans for all of us, but he won’t do all the heavy lifting. Get out there and pursue your dreams with all you have!
Tell me something people would be surprised to know about you?
I’m a big animal lover. I have eight dogs and two monkeys haha!
Favorite hobby unrelated to music/acting?
Working out, watching movies, traveling to new places, eating good food.
People doing things other than driving in the car like putting on makeup, or eating a giant Subway sandwich. The funny thing is we all do it, but when I see other people I just laugh and keep driving. I always wonder if other people witnessed it too.
What do you have coming up next?
I finished designing my new studio that I will start working in this year on a new album. I have a mini movie/music video that I’m very close to finishing. And hopefully some new tour dates will arise very soon.
Anything else we should know?
Follow me on instagram: @ashermonroe. I love talking to my fans and will always try to respond when I can.
Could you please send an unpublished selfie of whatever you are doing at the moment? We like to keep it real for the fans!
Ha ha, great shot! Watch Asher’s video below, and follow him on social media: