Spotlight On: Jazzy Ash
Whether you are new to Yoto or a Yoto Pro, you’re sure to have heard tunes from the joyful Jazzy Ash. Maybe you have heard Pizza Pizza Daddy-O on Yoto Radio or have her card "Songs from the Playground", also included in our Starter Pack. Regardless, Jazzy Ash is an all-time Yoto favorite!
We recently caught up with Jazzy Ash to chat about her latest Yoto-exclusive music card, Play Date. Read on to learn more about the inspiration behind Play Date, a favorite childhood memory of hers and so much more!
What was the inspiration behind Play Date?
We really wanted to make a collection of songs that were the best of Jazzy Ash! This year marks my 10th year of performing as Jazzy Ash and making music for children, so I thought it would be exciting to share the best of what I’ve created with the Yoto audience. I came up with the title Play Date, because I chose songs that weren't just ones you can sing along to, but ones that inspire creativity, playing and getting outside, which have always been part of my musical ethos.
What’s your favorite song on Play Date and why?
My favorite song on the record and my favorite song that I’ve written is called Salmon Song and I actually wrote it while I was in the parking lot waiting to pick my kids up from school. I once learned that salmon are born in the river and then they live their lives out in the ocean, but at the end of their lives they go back to the place they were born to lay their eggs. I thought this was a really relatable story to the human experience: you grow up in a certain place, then you go out and explore the world, but it’s always nice to come home. So Salmon Song is a tender and beautiful song that I’m really proud of.
What do you enjoy writing about most?
I really like writing about experiences that we can all relate to and that’s across the board as I’m an author and a playwright as well. The challenges of adolescence, the promise of adulthood, the relationship between parents and children and the magic in the little things. I think it's magical to think about little moments that we take for granted that are actually really special.
Where is your favorite place to sing/perform?
I’m a big nature person so, I love to sing outside, amongst nature. I’m actually going to be performing at one of my favorite places soon: Wolf Trap in Virginia. It’s the only national park dedicated to the performing arts and you’re surrounded by trees, nature and life, which creates such a unique experience. So playing in places like Wolf Trap, but also playing at festivals where people are enjoying the ambiance as well as the music, that’s really cool to me.
Why do you love making music?
I often say that I think music is a magical power. It permeates language, it has the ability to change people's minds, to offer new perspectives and to get people to be open to ideas and communities in ways that they wouldn't be in other mediums. You can learn information in a book, but if you hear it sung or played, it’s more powerful. Even from an academic perspective, you tend to memorize things better when they're set to music. To be able to communicate and tell stories through this medium is a gift and I really love sharing this gift.
Share a memory of making music as a child - why is that special to you?
I’m an only child and I spent a lot of time alone as a kid. Even though it was lonely at times, it also sparked a lot of creativity for me. Cassette tapes were a big thing for me growing up and I have one cassette tape of me as a kid where I was playing the roles of the host of a radio show, and the people calling in to request songs AND I would sing the songs. I would put on different accents for the callers and everything. I think it’s so cool that I was able to use that technology to entertain myself and feed the spark that ended up being my life-long passion to create. Cassettes actually remind me of Yoto Cards because they’re these little treasures that you get to make your own. With Yoto, you can explore existing cards like mine, but you can also create your own cards, which reminds me of the days where you could record your own voice on tape.