Can Music Bring Him "Fame?"
Asher Monroe Book is a charming, attractive fresh face who took YouTube by storm and starred in the sensational Fame feature film, and now he has a budding musical career. Read our interview with him below.
Asher Monroe Book: Increasing the caliber of creativity
What you see before you is not just another pretty face. You may have seen his charming good looks around, ranging from the small screen to the big screen, but do you really know Asher Monroe Book — who now chooses to go by Asher Monroe?
Unlikely. At the mere age of 24, he has a solid resume which began at age 11, according to the IMDb. His work — spanning from appearances on The Mentalist and Parenthood to the movie Fame — will now expand to include a musical career.
He became a YouTube sensation seemingly overnight with the release of the track "Like I Do," and we hope to see him parlay the success into a full-fledged album. We sat down with him for an intimate and informative glance into where he comes from, what his plans are and who inspires him.
SheKnows: Born in Arlington, Virginia, moved to New York City, then to L.A. — how did your roots help you as a musician?
Asher Monroe: Growing up in Virginia, I was listening to oldies in the car. Roots are important, especially to me in this industry. I was in a national Broadway tour and wherever you can you pull culture from people. All those kind of things definitely help you write music.
SK: I've read some of your other interviews and you mention that Stevie Wonder is an influence ― how does he affect your music?
AM: Stylistically, I love his melodies... I love the way he sings. I'm inspired to pick up the piano. The music you listen to today possibly hints of it. Some of my music is inspired by a baseline in his song.
SK: Parenthood, the movie Fame, The Mentalist... you've had countless other appearances, but do you think you love acting as much as you do music?
AM: Acting is all a part of that creative level and I am a creative person at heart. When I can become a character that a normal person wouldn’t, I like doing it. Acting is a lot of fun. It is hard to compare it to work; when you are in it, you just enjoy every moment. At the same time, I was supporting myself and I was also helping support my family so it helped put food on the table.
SK: Congrats on your prestigious Billboard cover! What was running through your head when you were shooting that?
AM: Thank you. Oh man! It's a trippy experience with any musician, to come true, to be on the cover of such a prestigious magazine. I was just honored to be on it and be a part of something so amazing. Proud moment. Great moment.
SK: What’s your favorite song on the new album?
AM: [I] Have so many favorites ― I am continually trying to push myself farther and step out of my comfort zone. It has been a lot of fun in the past year just making this music. And I am constantly evolving. For me, it's hard to put one song as a favorite, each one is a favorite to me. I have a lot of songs recorded and written.
SK: OK, let's narrow it down further. What song on your new album would you dedicate to a special someone?
AM: Good question. I'm not sure. I would dedicate “Goodbye.” It's a heartfelt, amazing song. Basically, I would say "goodbye" to everything except you. When I perform I could dedicate this. I do have people in mind when I write these songs.
SK: Well then, fans gotta know: Do you have a special someone?
AM: Maybe. I definitely keep my love life on the DL. Don’t want to unveil too much. Already being in the spotlight so much, you gotta keep a few things in secrecy.
SK: Who did you enjoy collaborating with more, Chris Brown or Sean Kingston?
AM: I didn't have as much time with Sean Kingston in terms of collaboration. Chris Brown spent more time helping create these songs, and vocally produce. My work with him was more hands-on. I really enjoyed working with someone with so much talent. Chris has been an amazing person to work with.
SK: Your smash hit “Here With You” was co-produced with Ryan Tedder [of One Republic]. What kind of influence and direction did he give to it, in regard to style or execution?
AM: He’s given it versatility, I'm a huge fan of One Republic. Not only did I love his band, it was similar to the stuff I was doing. We could get together and we could really come up with something cool. He is just so open ― when we were in the room together the energy really works, synergy totally worked. I was just privileged.
SK: Why was "Here With You" important enough to you to make it the leading single?
AM: It had an anthem vibe ― it was a song people could [play] just driv[ing] in a car, blast in the radio and be with their friends. It's not directed to one person but could be anything, it could be all across the board ― with a general theme.
SK: Dance/Pop music is a tough genre to stand out in. What do you think will make you stand out?
AM: I think it helps with the Ryan Tedder collaboration. Working with him can definitely help and radio stations think, "Well, he loves it." People love good music to dance to, great lyrics, feel-good songs ― for me I see this as a introduction breakout. I wanted a song in the beginning to get everyone's attention.
SK: This song will open doors. Who would your dream collaboration be with?
AM: I had always looked up with Chris [Brown]. One day, maybe Bruno Mars? I have other producers and writers on my list but I am still happy so far. People like the ones I already worked with are big people I wanted to.
SK: Who do you have a musical crush on?
AM: Musically I would say Adele. She's a powerhouse and has amazing vocals. Girls that can really sing kill it.
SK: You're big on social networking, but it comes with its share of downsides ― how would you cope with any negativity or gossip spread on these platforms?
AM: I think it will happen regardless, there are haters out there, it's easy to comment at home. Just 'cause they don’t like it, I don’t really let it get to me, at the end of the day it's me and it's what I want to represent. There [are] pros and cons — it's out there and it’s the music I like.
SK: One message to your fans about pursuing their dreams would be?
AM: I really encourage my fans all the time to pursue it with all [their] heart, a lot of times it can't be done. There have been endless worries of famous people that have been rejected and they were told they wouldn't amount to anything. Greatest thing about it, it encourages us to push even harder ― if it's your craft you have to do it with your full heart and get better.
Be competitive as hell ― man, so many different things... but don’t give up, that’s the easiest way out. And if they give up on it they will never know.
Check out "Here With You:"
Photo courtesy of Andres Otero/WENN.com