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Musician Ashleigh Chevalier Loves Performing Most of All

By Christina Ferber.

Ashleigh Chevalier is release A new single and video — “Z’upo” — on Saturday, March 5, 2016, at The Colonial Tavern, 406 Lafayette Blvd, in Fredericksburg. The 9 p.m. show includes the Bobby Thompson Project and special guest Ron Holloway.

What’s the connection between an Uber driver, a bartender and a teacher? They’re all jobs musician Ashleigh Chevalier has held in order to fuel her passion for music. Though the way has not always been easy, she’s managed to make music the focus of her life, and she’s fulfilling her dreams in the process.

A Determined Woman
Chevalier started singing when she was 6. At 10, she was cast by a musical theater company as the lead in Anne of Green Gables, and at 11 she performed her first aria and started writing her own music.

“I’ve always loved performing,” said 29-year-old Chevalier. “Ever since I can remember, it’s been a part of me.”

As valedictorian at King George High School, academics were also a focus. But even as she worked herself through college as a bartender and teacher, Chevalier continued to make music, focusing on the piano, guitar and singing.

“I attended William and Mary, but then transferred to George Mason so I could get a broader perspective, and blend my music with business and marketing,” she said.

Even after getting married and divorced while attending college, she kept making music. She earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing. Now, as a single mom to two-year-old Eleanor, she continues to leap over hurdles.

“Even though I make a decent living, it’s not always easy to work for yourself,’ she said. “I’m lucky in the flexibility I have to be with my daughter, even with the crazy hours. I’m able to show her that even though it might be hard sometimes, you should never give up on your dreams under any circumstances. I could go and get that regular paycheck, but I would hate myself because music is what I am.”

A Woman of Many Talents
Chevalier has managed to blend her degree in marketing with her music. Along with promoting herself and fellow area musicians — including a weekly column on Fredericksburg.Today online news — she books and manages events.

“You have to work to get your art out there, and I think that sometimes musicians struggle with balancing their business with their creativity,” Chevalier said. “I do a lot to promote the music scene in our area, and to let people know what amazing talent we have in the region.”

Chevalier also started a group called The Singin’ Ladies of the ‘Burg. It is a place for all levels and styles of female musicians to collaborate and share, and it promotes camaraderie.

Chevalier teaches guitar, piano, and vocal lessons at BANG! Music in Stafford and Forte Music Studios in Fredericksburg. She’s been able to share her love of music with others in the process.

“I love to teach. I know its cliché, but I think I learn more from them than they do from me. I try to inspire and motivate them the best I can,” Chevalier said. She believes parents should support and encourage creativity in their children, as well as discipline and practice.

When she has off time, she can be found practicing mixed martial arts, and has found that the discipline that comes from studying it only makes her music better.

Performing is Her Passion
Chevalier is at heart a blues singer. Blues is what has most influenced her vocal style.

“Blues is a very natural and raw way of letting my voice express itself,” Chevalier said. “People say that you don’t choose the blues, it chooses you and that’s the truth. It chose me.”

Her performances are a mix of original music and traditional blues, though she notes that she is a “roots rockin’ blues person,” so songs might not always be what you are used to hearing on the radio.

“When you step out on the stage, you’re cultivating a space for your audience,” she said. “I love creating a connection with people in the international language of music. I’m sharing a part of myself and love creating that soul space with my audience. The songs I perform get right down to the core of what matters most to me, and I hope that people relate to that.”

What’s Next?
Chevalier’s debut album “From the Soles” was nominated for a Washington Area Music Association WAMMIE award, and she has released the successful single “Hold On To the Light.” It features Ron Holloway, Jon Carroll and Bruce Middle. A Christmas single “The Wexford Carol” was released with Middle in 2015. All are available as downloads.

A new single and video — “Z’upo” — will be released on March 5, 2016 at The Colonial Tavern, 406 Lafayette Blvd, in Fredericksburg. The performance is with the Bobby Thompson Project and special guest Ron Holloway. The show begins at 9 p.m.

Chevalier is working toward release of a new album — “Burnin’ Down” — in spring 2016. It includes originals and some covers.

Her handpicked musicians for the album are Bruce Middle, Lane Drum, Ron Holloway (Ron Holloway Band, Warren Haynes), John Wiley (Melodime) , Toby Fairchild (Keller Williams), and Mike Echols. The album will also feature a guest appearance by Grammy winner Jon Carroll.

“This upcoming album is about overcoming the struggles in life,” Chevalier said. “I wrote the song “Hard Workin’ Woman” right after my divorce. I was bartending and commuting to school. It’s an album about conquering life’s turmoil, from the soul up,”

You can also catch her performing around town, along with bigger venues throughout the region. She’s performed at The Birchmere, The State Theater in Falls Church, The Hamilton in D.C., Tally Ho Theater in Leesburg, and The Tin Pan in Richmond. She also plays radio stations.

“I love all parts of the music process, but I love performing most of all, especially when I can share my original music and connect with the audience energy. My immediate goal is to be a successful performer first and foremost, and then we’ll see where that takes me and what other things I might have up my sleeve.”

CHECK IT OUT!
Ashleigh Chevalier Facebook
Ashleigh Chevalier Twitter
Ashleigh Chevalier YouTube

Read Ashleigh’s columns under Music on Fredericksburg.Today.

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