INTERVIEW: Asher Monroe Reflects on His Debut Album, "Inner Warrior"
Multi-talented singer-songwriter and producer Asher Monroe has done it all, from his involvement as the lead singer for pop R&B boy band V Factory to writing music with Chris Brown and Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic and even acting in multiple prime time TV and film roles and appearing in extensive runs of national Broadway tours. At the beginning of 2017, only thing that Asher Monroe had yet to check off his list was his first full-length solo album, but as of last month, he has done that, too. Inner Warrior, the debut full-length from Monroe finds him recounting the roller coster of his life for the past few years while he explored new music and revisited older songs to rework them for the album. Every step of the way, Monroe spearheaded the project, from writing and recording everything himself to even self-releasing the album.
With Inner Warrior out now, Asher Monroe is naturally looking for the next big step forward, with plans to release a mini movie to accompany the album and hopes to get out on the road as soon as possible. Read more about the creation of the album and more below.
Interview by Dom Vigil
This summer, you celebrated the release of your debut solo album, Inner Warrior! Looking back on it, what on the album are you the most proud of?
I’m most proud of finishing a large body of work that I no longer hear lyrical, production, or mixing notes. That was my problem, I had so many great songs that I never felt were complete enough for the public to hear. Now I feel that with this first album.
What was the transition like, going from being part of a group to flying solo on this release?
It’s a big transition and not something necessarily that happens overnight. Growing up on stage, I was always used to having an ensemble of people on stage with me. I never practiced being a one-man show. Being in a major label group was fun and I learned a lot [about] the recording process and touring but there is still nothing like going out on stage [and] performing songs I had written with a spotlight right on me. It’s the best and most natural high an artist can feel. at least in my opinion. It’s the biggest sensation and reward.
This album was really all you, from your vocals, lyrics and production to even releasing it yourself. What was the process like?
A lot of hard work, blood, sweat and tears. Just finding my sound, which is still evolving, was hard enough. I can sing any genre of music but finding my niche was the tricky part. I wasn't always a writer until I left the group.... that took time. Learning to engineer my own sessions and learn multiple instruments is something I'm still learning and continuing to use from my toolset in the studio. It’s an ongoing craft that I'm honing. It’s a lot of fun but like I said, a lot of work. Looking back, completely worth it!
Were there any challenges you faced while working on Inner Warrior?
Of course. Picking the songs wasn't easy; I had folders and playlists of many songs I liked but finding the diamonds in the rough took time and shaping. Some songs I had only written a verse and a chorus for, but still had to be in the same emotional place or better to deliver the emotion and lyrics to feel complete. Sonically everything felt at one point as really strong demos, but getting them to have that radio sound took about 6 months in the studio bringing in top grade musicians to replay or rerecord. One song I tracked 4 years ago so of course I didn't want to sound like a baby and completely re sung everything. Again, not to go into too much detail, which is all I spend time doing, but if your shooting for perfection like I do, it takes time to get it the way you want it.
Did you have any major goals in mind for the album, it being your debut solo release?
My major goal was to put 13 of my favorite songs together on one cohesive album that wouldn't sound all over the place. All the songs were written over the last few years, but tracking them to sound cohesive took about 6 months of fine-tuning in the studio. From re tracking and the way to mixing, I opted out of mastering because I liked my mixes better. The goal was to finish all 13 and just put it out to the world to hear. I plan to promote the next few months with a few music videos coming soon and hopefully a national tour.
You recently released the lyric video for “Hurricane” from the album. What does this track mean to you?
Yes, I did release a lyric video for “Hurricane.” The song is an emotional battle cry from the days I was lost to the day I found someone.
What would you like listeners to be able to take away from Inner Warrior?
I want them to jump on the rollercoaster journey of my life in the last few years. I want my listeners to know me better and connect with my music. There are happy feel good song, sad songs, angry songs, fast tempo, slow tempo, and amazing live instrumentation. A lot of amazing melodies and lyrics to connect to. It’s my journey, it’s my life story, my inner warrior.
With the album out now, do you have any other big plans for the rest of 2017?
I had a big performance last night, along with a few more across the country. I plan to release a mini movie story line.... kind of like a live album mixed in with a few traditional grade music videos. A lot of content and hopefully my fans will get to see and meet me face to face as I really want to get on the road, travel and perform in many places.
Thank you for taking the time to talk with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Follow me on instagram @ashermonroe - talk soon!