Kassi Ashton is a fairly new face in country music, having released her debut single last year. However, the 25-year-old singer has been commanding stages since she can remember.
“I have been singing since before I could read,” Kassi says in an interview with Sounds Like Nashville. “My mom used to always sneak me into karaoke bars and hide me under the cocktail table and let me scratch off scratcher tickets. She would take me up to sing ‘My Heart Will Go On’ because that was my favorite song. I couldn’t read the prompter yet, so she would stand behind me and tell me the lines before they came.”
Growing up in California, Missouri, a city of almost 4,300 people, Kassi was raised singing the songs of some of country’s most legendary ladies. Most notably, she remembers listening to Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Sammi Smith, Patsy Cline, and of course, Reba McEntire.
“My mom mostly listened to old-school country,” Kassi remembers. “If you’re in the kitchen and she passes you the broom and you mess up the words to ‘Fancy’ by Reba McEntire, you are grounded. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. If you messed up the words, you were in trouble.”
It wasn’t long before teenage Kassi started writing her own poems, which she then turned into “indie, acoustic, moody” songs. This passion for music led Kassi to move to Nashville in 2012 to attend Belmont University, majoring in Commercial Voice and minoring in Music Business. Throughout college and afterwards, Kassi moved up the musical ranks, eventually signing a record deal with UMG Nashville in conjunction with Interscope Records in 2017.
Kassi has also gained attention from other artists in country music. She recorded a duet with Keith Urban called “Drop Top,” which appears on his Graffiti U album, and she’ll be joining Maren Morris on her Girl: The World Tour in the fall.
Whether she’s singing at the karaoke bars she frequented as a kid or on a sold-out country tour, playing music, as Kassi states, is the “only thing I’ve ever wanted to do.”