Ashley Newman: The Reigning Queen of TikTok
Sometimes success can be attributed to pure fate—considering 17-year-old Ashley Newman’s sudden rise to stardom, destiny was on her side. In August 2018, Newman won a contest started by social media influencers Charles Gitnick and Joey Birlem to record the song “Anything,” written by one of their fans. The tune—which preaches chasing your dreams—took the teen all the way to Los Angeles, where she was paired with two-time Grammy Award nominee and LA music producer Alex Cantrall. Since then, Cantrall has taken Newman under his wing: she has grown her following on TikTok, where she posts both song covers and comedy skits, to 1.2 million followers and recently released her first single, “Photos.” This past summer, Newman was a part of the Boys of Summer Tour, doing meet and greets and performing across the country with fellow influencers Zoe Laverne, Cody Orlove, Josh Richards, and more. Below, she takes readers behind the scenes of the tour and shares her secrets to becoming successful on TikTok.
When and why did you decide to make a TikTok account?
I started TikTok in January 2019 because a lot of my followers on the live streaming app YouNow kept encouraging me to. I knew if I wanted to progress further in my career, I needed to move to a different platform, and considering the way TikTok was blowing up, it was a perfect place to start!
How does your account differ from other creators’?
I always try to put my own creative spin on trends. I also post a lot of singing videos, which most creators don’t do.
Was there a specific video that helped you skyrocket to stardom?
The first video of mine that really kick-started my account was a video of me singing “Halo” by Beyoncé in my car. I posted it at one in the morning, and when I woke up, it had over 500,000 views and kept growing. It ended up having almost 400,000 likes, and I gained 50,000 followers from it!
What is your favorite video you’ve created to date and why?
The one of me surprising myself while singing “River” by Bishop Briggs. I was trying so hard to make a good cover of it, I sounded like a dying cow. When I finally filmed one and hit the notes perfectly, I stopped singing and had to freak out a little bit. It was one of those moments as a singer that you have but never get on film, but luckily, I caught that one!
How do your singing career and TikTok account go hand in hand?
My TikTok followers listen to my original music. They also help me write songs on my live streams and always support my singing videos on TikTok. I wouldn’t have half as many streams on my songs if it weren’t for them, and I’m so grateful for that!
What was it like collaborating with LA music producer Alex Cantrall on the song, “Anything?”
It was so cool to work with my producer, Alex Cantrall, on “Anything.” It was my first time flying to L.A. to work, and I just recorded the song acoustically. Thankfully, Alex liked me and kept inviting me back, and now, I have a whole EP I recorded with him that’s ready to release. All of it is such a dream come true.
What was the best part about performing on the Boys of Summer Tour? Was there a particular show that stood out?
The best part was when people would sing along to my songs in the crowd. It has always been a dream of mine to have people know the lyrics to songs I write and get to perform them with an audience. Singing my originals in front of a crowd was something I wasn’t sure I would ever accomplish. Doing this tour was one of the best experiences of my life.
Any memorable behind-the-scenes moments from BOS you can share?
We were about to stay in a hotel in Albuquerque, New Mexico and found out it was infested with cockroaches. As we were all packed up and ready to go, we saw one last cockroach on the wall and decided to go and kill it. When Josh Richards hit it with the water jug, it fell to the ground but was still moving, so he dropped the water jug on it, the jug split open, and water spilled all over the ground. We had to run so fast out of that lobby. I hadn’t laughed so hard in a long time!
What was your favorite tour bus memory?
Definitely when we were all freestyling during the long night drives in the first phase of the tour. Everyone was so into it, and we all huddled into a circle to see who could spit the best bars.
What is your endgame? What do you ultimately hope to accomplish in the future?
I hope to become an established singer. I want to be like Ariana Grande one day and spend my life touring and making music. It’s truly my passion and something I want to pursue for the rest of my life!
This or That:
Comedy or drama? Comedy.
Instagram or TikTok? TikTok.
Movies or TV? Movies.
Eat in or go out? Go out.
Chicago or Texas? Texas.
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