Ashlee Willis is a singer, a songwriter, a DJ, but most of all, she’s one bad ass entertainer! The Florida native has been singing, writing and playing guitar since high school, but recently, she burst onto the country music scene by combining all aspects of her artistic ability with her new-found passion, DJing.
Under the stage name DJ BadAsh, she has created a DJ style and brand of country music that is appealing to every type of country music fan. But her artistic talent doesn’t stop there. DJ Bad Ash also performs with a rock and roll band named Concert Kiss. The band is best known for its burlesque style performances that are a unique blend of rock & roll, intriquitly choreographed dance routines, fan interaction and are visually appealing.
We sat down with DJ BadAsh just before her incredible set at Stagecoach, where she debuted her newest single and had over 3,000 people dancing late into the night. Read our interview below and follow DJ BadAsh on Instagram, @DJBadAsh, for performance dates, show highlights and photos of all the beautiful people she works with.
CVC: DJ Bad Ash, tell us about yourself, how did you start DJ-ing?
DJBA: I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida. Shortly after graduating high school, I moved out to LA with a record deal. I had always done the singer songwriter thing and it turned into DJ-ing, then it turned into country DJ-ing.
CVC: When did you start DJ-ing?
DJBA: I’ve only been doing it for about 4 years… The night of my big release party, my boyfriend passed away and it threw my whole life upside down. So I gave up music, I didn’t know what to do. So I took about a year off and I lived, travelled internationally, went to clubs for the first time and someone asked me, “Why don’t you learn how to DJ?”
At first I thought, that’s not my scene, I’m a country singer and a guitar player. But I gave it a try one night and it was SO FUN! It just came natural to me… and it just took off, it just happened.
CVC: Would you say it happened over night?
DJBA: DJ-ing didn’t happen over night, but I was constantly growing, constantly getting better. But the Country DJ-ing was like a lightbulb went off for me, because there are only a handful of popular country music DJs and they’re all men and most of them don’t sing. So now I’m able to mix my songs and add my own style to my performances, which makes them unique.
CVC: You continue to sing, write, but you also belong to a band, can you tell us more about the band?
DJBA: YES! It’s called Concrete Kiss and it’s so much fun! It’s a live burlesque rock n’ roll band, in which I sing. We bring in professional dancers and it’s a full production show. Performers are dancing on the bar, hanging from the ceiling and every number is different. Each song is a unique experience, because of the choreography and the visual experience.
CVC: What kind of a crowd do you get at those performances?
DJBA: A variety. We get men and women of all ages. But, it’s especially popular with female fans. Women LOVE IT, because it’s a burlesque cabaret show, but it’s not trashy. It’s classy, it’s rock n’ roll and it’s entertaining! I would say it’s very empowering for women, you feel very proud to be a woman after the show.
CVC: Have you experienced and setbacks while breaking into the DJ-ing scene, because you are a female?
DJBA: The first big gig I played, I opened for Snoop Dogg. I was so nervous and I prepared and made sure I had the best set possible before he went on and I killed it!
But afterwards speaking to the manager of the club, he seemed unimpressed. He said, “Well yeah it was a good set, but it was prerecorded, so what’s the big deal?”
I said, “No it wasn’t prerecorded, that was me mixing.”
But looking back, in a way it was a compliment, because if he though that my set was prerecorded, then I did a good job. So that would be the only instance, where I think because they see a pretty girl, they don’t think I’m capable of making something creative, cool and different.
CVC: So now, what’s your goal?
DJBA: I have never had any expectations as a DJ, because it came so unexpectedly. So every experience I’m having is just amazing! If I book a gig, I’m like great! You want me to perform here? Sure! DJ at Stagecoach, AWESOME! Ideally, I’d like to release an album as a singer/DJ, and release an album and go on tour.
CVC: How are you enjoying Stagecoach?
DJBA: My website, DJBadAsh.com. I’m also on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, I’m on all of them, under the name @DJBadAsh