Q&A with electro-soul singer Ashley King, headliner of Montreal’s 12th annual Taste of the Caribbean Festival on June 18

Electro-soul singer Ashley King will be taking centre stage as the headliner for Montreal’s 12th annual Taste of the Caribbean Festival, featuring music, entertainment and foodfrom 20 different Caribbean countries. The one-day event happens this Saturday, June 18th, at Marché Bonsecours in Old Montreal. SheDoestheCity caught up with Ashley as she prepared for her upcoming performance, to chat about the TOTC, her new record, her charity work and the differences between La Belle Ville and El Toro.
SheDoesTheCity: You’re headlining this at this year’s A Taste of The Caribbean Festival. Can you give us a hint of what’s in store for the performance? What else will you be checking out at the TOTC?
Ashley King: Well, I’ve got my eye on the ackee and saltfish!

No seriously, it’s just so worth it to be a part of such an amazing event that has been around for 12 years, celebrating Caribbean culture, its music, tastes and art – all while giving back to charitable causes. To fit the occasion, I’ve decided to perform alongside an amazing Montreal Reggae band Inus Aso Delight, who will deliver smooth & steady baselines for tracks such as “Slave to the Rhythm” and “Natural Mystic”. I will also be performing my new single “I believe in love” with guest appearance by Stallz.
SDTC: Your sound has been described as “young Sade meets Sinead O’Connor while partying in Ibiza.” How do you feel about the comparison?
AK: I think it’s cool to be compared to these artists. They have definitely inspired my sound. I have enjoyed my fair share of listening to Sade’s bluesy tunes on a many calm day, or watching Sinead’s “Nothing compares to you” video…admittedly over and over again…she is so gorgeous in that video!
SDTC: What can listeners expect from your newly released sophomore album, “Love Revolution”? How has your sound evolved since your 2008 debut album, “Waiting for the Future”?
AK: “Love Revolution” was an amazing process. Long, but definitely worthwhile. I reached that point of no return. I found my voice, my sound and purpose. I do believe that people are finding me for that very reason, and the music is truly taking a life of its own. “Love Revolution” is a very strong album, and the smooth melodies flowed through me like a warm memory.
SDTC: I love your sultry take on Bob Marley’s “Natural Mystic.” What drew you to cover the song?
AK: I was in studio recording the “Waiting for the Future” album, and my producer suggested I study Bob Marley’s flow… A few days later I was looking through a fashion magazine, I think it was V, and there was an editorial entitled “Natural Mystic” … I took it as a sign and just decided to do a spin on the song. I’m glad you like it.
SDTC: As spokesperson for the My Jamaican Heaven [http://myjamaicanheaven.org/] foundation, can you tell me about the organization and your involvement with the charity?
AK: MJH is truly amazing – the whole concept is to raise funds to build various campuses across Jamaica, like elementary schools and orphanages that include self-sustained produce mini-farms. For now, building the first one is still a dream, but we are hard at work raising funds through various events like KA Magazine’s [http://kaonlinemagazine.com/] Best of Canada Benefit Event and private donations. Proceeds from my album sales and the TOTC fest are going to this cause, too.
SDTC: You were born in Toronto and moved to Montreal, a process you describe as an “exodus in reverse.” How does “La Belle Ville” compare to “El Toro” [http://www.eyeweekly.com/article/111139]?
AK: El Toro?! My god that made me laugh, I like it! Montreal is cool, what can I say? Lots of art here, great people and it is a city that I feel finds joy in the life’s simple things. Sometimes though, we like our Gucci and Hermes, those beautiful flagship stores you find in El Toro. Toronto has truly raised the bar, the city is really booming and I truly love the vibe every time I go back.
SDTC: So, what’s next for Ashley King?
AK: Lots of shows here in Canada, starting in Montreal and Toronto to spread the music as much as possible. Also planning a single release in Jamaica. Yeah!!
Ashley King performs at the Taste of the Caribbean Festival this Saturday, June 18 at Marché Bonsecours (350 St Paul E.) in Old Montreal. Visit http://totc-festival.com/ for tickets.

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