Ashlyne Huff Speaks Up
Despite the abnormally loud preshow background music at the Nokia Theater in New York City last Thursday, singer Ashlyne Huff strained her vocal cords in an effort to appease my journalistic prodding less than an hour before her performance. All the while, she retained a self-assured smile that couldn’t have been brighter if sponsored by Colgate.
Ashlyne Huff is the talented daughter of Dann Huff, renowned studio musician and producer whose list of world-class collaborators includes Michael Jackson, Celine Dion and Mariah Carey. Thanks to a childhood shaped by naps in the studio, Pro Tools sessions and dancing lessons, Huff is a musically cultured young woman whose diverse iPod undoubtedly helped shape the sonic calling card heard on singles like “Heart of Gold.” Her ‘well-balanced meal’ approach to musical composition resulted in a compendium of genre-busting tracks on her self-titled debut album, released May 10 through Anderson Media’s Liquid Digital Media imprint.
Huff was undaunted on the eve of her debut on Jordin Sparks’ Battlefield tour. Fresh off an opening gig on the road with Honor Society and a track featured on the June 1st episode of MTV’s hit reality soap The Hills, Huff will perform acoustic sets to whet the appetites of her fans. Once a full band joins her on June 25, she will have the opportunity to showcase the extensive dance training that once landed her a spot in a LeeAnn Rimes video.
“The acoustic performances allow me to look people directly in the eye,” says Huff, who also claimed her inherent giddiness helps her connect with fans during these intimate engagements.
If by giddiness Huff means equanimity and poise, her performance Thursday night was spot-on. Huff addressed the energetic crowd with the grace of a veteran songstress and the gaiety of a tween role model equipped to cope with the tension headaches associated with skyrocketing success.
The set began with an impassioned rendition of “Trippin’ It Up,” which effectively roused an audience made somnolent by a dull set of pre-show songs as winners of a radio contest flooded the GA area. “Sweet Nothing,” a song about a break-up resulting in less grief than relief, was welcomed by girly coos and empowered ‘you go girl’ chants. After snapping a TwitPic of the enthralled crowd making hearts with their hands, the up-and-coming starlet concluded the set with hit single “Heart of Gold,” whose breakdown includes a near-prophetic “you’re going to miss this, you’re going to miss this face”.
Fans missing Huff’s face will have the opportunity to meet her at several Walmart locations near cities listed in her tour schedule. Since Walmart patrons visit the store to shop for most quotidian needs, Huff explains the in-store CD signings compliment her eclectic style.
As if road duties do not suffice, Huff revealed she has already begun penning songs for her sophomore follow-up, yet another indication of her fervent work ethic. When asked what artists she would like to work with, Huff cited Hayley Williams of Paramore, both because of her musical abilities and her unapologetic attitude, and Nashville compatriots Kings of Leon.
When I inquired about her plans following the Battlefield tour, Huff replied with a shrug and ear-to-ear grin.
“My birthday,” said Huff.