A local young woman has just released her first single. Singer/songwriter Ashley Norris picked Mother’s Day to debut her song “Mom” on Spotify. The single is the first recording of what will be Norris’ debut EP intended to be released in a few months.
The 27-year-old is a familiar face around Malibu and so is her voice. Formerly a yoga instructor teaching around town, the 2010 Malibu High School graduate often stunned her students by singing live Hindu chants for compassion and prosperity during the quiet or shavasana relaxation period at the end of her sessions. Norris would often change the melodies from what she had previously heard to make them her own. Her students were usually in disbelief when they discovered their teacher was singing live and what they heard was not a recording.
One local fan, Nilo Falamaki, has become a fan of Norris before any of her music has formally been released.
“Ashley sings beautifully,” Falamaki described. “Her voice is like a bird in paradise.”
Now Norris, who has been honing her chops by performing in Malibu and Topanga for the past few years, is focusing her attention on launching her recording career—the genesis of which all began in Malibu. As a young student in the Malibu school system, Norris said she was always drawn toward singing and participated in pickup choirs and chamber choirs through middle school and high school.
“I think that was really helpful in developing not only an appreciation for music, but in learning how to use my voice—how to blend with other singers and modify in terms of dynamics,” Norris said. “I was always super shy and I never made anything I thought was me. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I started to teach myself how to play the guitar that I really felt that I had some autonomy in my music. I don’t have to rely on anybody else. I could produce the sound I wanted to make.
“My boyfriend, Prince Zapata, set up a recording studio at our house,” she continued. “So, I’ve been making my music from home.” Zapata mixed and mastered the recordings as well.
The first song of a planned EP was released on Mothers’ Day.
“I’m really excited to share things that I feel are authentically who I am, what I want to say and from the comfort of my own creative space,” she said. The debut single “Mom” was written, she said, “as a way to understand my relationship was with my mom. It’s healing and very honest. We have a deep love for each other.”
Mom is healthy living advocate and entrepreneur Catie Norris. Ashley’s dad, Brad Norris, is an owner of Malibu Health and Rehabilitation gym on Pacific Coast Highway.
Norris described her musical style as “indie/folk and guitar based.”
“My vocals are deep-rough, perhaps, but goes to a range of very high,” the young singer explained. Norris sings solo on her recordings so far. Her music and lyrics are written solo as well. One other musician, Australian Jordan Wainer, accompanies Norris on her latest work playing background guitar she described as ambient.
An avid hiker, Norris said she finds inspiration for her music in nature and Malibu itself.
“The landscape is a major source of inspiration for me ... as well as my experiences growing up here,” she described. “I’ve been writing songs my whole life. My experiences growing up in Malibu are the stories I have to share,” Norris continued—the experiences helped form her musical voice.
“Mom” is available on Spotify as well as all major music streaming platforms including iTunes and Pandora. A music video will follow soon on YouTube. It was shot in northern Malibu near County Line after the fire. Follow Ashley Norris on Instagram, @_ashley_norris.