Growing up in Sheffield, UK, Ashley was bullied by her classmates and found solace in pop music sung by artists such as Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera and Britney ...
Growing up in Sheffield, UK, Ashley was bullied by her classmates and found solace in pop music sung by artists such as Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears. By the time she was 12, she was writing songs about her experiences. Always one to try new things, Ashley auditioned to be on a BBC1 national dance competition reality show, Dance X, where she became friends with From Above group member Chelsey Reynolds. When Chelsey approached her to audition for From Above, Ashley leapt at the opportunity. Two years ago, Ashley was diagnosed with Addison’s disease, a rare disorder that occurs when the adrenal glands no longer produce sufficient amounts of various hormones, including adrenaline. Although this condition is treatable, the effects have hindered her energy. But Ashley, now 21, is determined to push herself in every way—just as she always has—and not let anything get in the way of her dream of being a pop star.
“My mother used to get me to sing songs by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey on the steps of our house when I was four,” says Ashley. “Growing up, I listened to Michael Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Britney Spears and, Christina Aguilera. I used to make up dance routines in the school hallways and people were always copying my dance moves. When I was twelve, I started writing songs to instrumentals on YouTube. I must have done about three hundred—they were like my personal diary –and then they got deleted from my computer. My mum saw an ad on television for Dance X and she said I should go for it. I didn’t think I was good enough, but I figured I had nothing to lose. I ended up going from one stage of the competition to another, and although I loved dancing, my singing was even stronger. There was nothing that could compare to the feeling of being onstage.”