EP 59: Ashley Fuller (autogernated)
[00:00:00] Dane Reis: [00:00:00] you booked it, episode 59.
[00:00:05] Okay, let’s get started. I am excited to introduce my guest today. Ashley. Fuller. Are you ready for this Ashley?
[00:00:13]Ashley Fuller: [00:00:13] I am so ready. Let’s do it.
[00:00:16] Dane Reis: [00:00:16] Oh, right. At the age of 14 Ashley happy honor of singing at Carnegie hall with your claim choir, a leg rope, that performance has been her driving. Force having an extensive background in musical theater, playing roles, such as Fontine in ladies. Gloria in damn Yankees V. Lose an. Adelaide in guys and dolls.
[00:00:39] Name a few. Still in actually the foundation of show me. Work ethic and dedication. Currently you can catch Ashley’s band performing every Tuesday night at the Tuscany in Las Vegas prior to COVID. Ashley was passed in Spiegel opium. Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, as well as about, as much to Broadway sitting alongside.
[00:01:01] Tony nominee easy. It’s Bob.
[00:01:07] Eric. Jordan. Ashley recently also.
[00:01:14] currently, she is wanting to become owners.
[00:01:19] it is currently you can begin.
[00:01:23] the light.
[00:01:26] Ashley. That is eight intro. You are in warranty. But why don’t you. Tell us a little bit more about yourself. To help fill in the gaps who you are. A little bit more about what you want. Do. That’s a professional.
[00:01:41]Ashley Fuller: [00:01:41] Okay, well,
um, thank you so much for your wonderful intro Dane. Um, I am a born and raised Southern California native. Aye. Lived there. Um, my first 18 years of life and I started out in choir. That was my background. And, um, I sang in choir for probably too long. I sing every part.
[00:02:03] From base because the boys’ voices couldn’t hit like the baritone and bass notes. So soprano and,
um, I did show choir, uh, and then I started getting into summer conservatory in musical theater work and high school. Um, and that’s kind of where I really felt like, ah, this is really fun. And I want to, I want to do more with this musical theater thing. So throughout high school, I did summer conservatory and the summers and during.
[00:02:31] the school year as I was in choir. And. Doing musicals. And then I went to New York city. I auditioned for AMTA, New York, American musical and dramatic Academy. And,
um, I went there for about a year and a half graduated, auditioned out in New York for awhile. Um, my mom had some health problems and also I was like, I can’t afford here. This is New York is.
[00:02:51]Crazy. So I went back home to Southern California and,
um, I started doing band work and working with cover bands in LA. And then that led me to ships where I met my current husband. And, um, us having a child brought us to Las Vegas because my mom lived out here at the time. And then the rest is kind of history. That’s where we stopped. I live in Las Vegas now. Um, I’ve worked out here for the last five years and, uh, we’ve got two kids together. My husband, Aaron is a guitar player, professional guitar player, arranger composer.
Um, Great guy. And we have two beautiful little girls and I live out here and I love it. And Las Vegas, that’s everything in a very, very quick synopsis of what brought me to where I am today.
[00:03:35] Dane Reis: [00:03:35] Beautiful. I love it. I love it. All right. Well, let’s move on to the next section here. I am a sucker for a good quote. What’s your favorite quote? You’d like to share with our listeners.
[00:03:48]Ashley Fuller: [00:03:48] , I really was thinking about this one and,
um, it’s actually not a quote that I can quote from anybody in particular, but just something that I, I try to tell myself and live by all the time. Um, and it’s only you can define your value and it’s something that I feel like I’ve learned thus far in my life, but I also like to try.
[00:04:11] To think that,
um, especially in our world of performing and, um, auditions and, you know, coaches classes. Um, a lot of times when we are under scrutiny or criticism, it’s easy for us to. Allow someone else to, to have the power to almost. devalue us. And I try to always remind myself of this, that I I’m the one that gets to define my value. Not anyone else externally from me. It’s me. So.
[00:04:40] Yeah, that’s, that’s something, a quote that I usually tell myself all the time.
[00:04:45]Dane Reis: [00:04:45] I love that. And you’re you’re so right. That. We put too much importance on how other people perceive us. More. So I think than pretty much any other regular job or muggle out there, right. We, as a, as a entertainer and a performer, we. Put ourselves into these rooms and give so much of herself, give so much vulnerability and it’s difficult to do that in of itself. But then.
[00:05:13]Oftentimes, we’re not really helping ourselves. By giving people more power over whether or not we booked that gig or not, or what they even think of us, because really that’s quite irrelevant. We’re there to be us and do us. And if they like it great, if they don’t. It’s time to move on. Right.
[00:05:31] Ashley Fuller: [00:05:31] Exactly. Exactly. 100%.
[00:05:34]Dane Reis: [00:05:34] Beautiful. Well, let’s move on to this next section and Ashley, of course you are an entertainer. I am an entertainer, and I think that you would agree this industry can be one of the most subjective, brutally, honest, personally emotional industries in existence. And, you know, as well as I, that in order to create and to have a successful career in this industry, like you’re having now takes a lot of dedication and hard work. And while of course there is an outrageous amount of fun and excitement being on stage, being an entertainer. There are also our fair share of obstacles, challenges, and failures. We are going to experience and we’re going to have to move forward through.
[00:06:15] So tell us what is one key challenge, obstacle or failure you’ve experienced in your career? And how did you come out the other side better because of it.
[00:06:26]Ashley Fuller: [00:06:26]
Um, well, I love that question. And, um, you’re so right about this industry. Um, and, and how brutal it can be. Um, so I would say the biggest challenge, and I don’t view this as a challenge anymore, but the biggest challenge that I had to work through for myself in this business was my height. I’m five, 11 and a half, and basically six feet tall. But of course, on resumes, I’m like I’m five 11, not one inch really does it.
um, that, that was something that I immediately would be a yes or no generally, no, for most parts, um, because it’s hard finding a leading man that is taller or just even ensemble, can’t be, , shorter than, you know, My part that I’d be playing. So, um, that, that was a challenge for me and something to overcome because I looked at it as something that would hinder me when really, um, and I think this is true for all of us. The thing that makes us different that makes us unique is the thing that you need to embrace the most because it’s what makes you who you are. And we’re all so amazingly unique and different.
[00:07:37] And I think the more you embrace something that truly does make you stand out in, in a different way. . I swear the instant that I did, that I found so much more success and I,
um, I was able to perform differently and work differently. And. Um, , I’m grateful for the process because I wouldn’t be here today unless I actually.
[00:07:58]Had that moment of just telling myself this is what makes me me, and I’m going to run with it and use it to my benefit.
[00:08:06]Dane Reis: [00:08:06] Yeah, absolutely. I love that. That is such an amazing perspective and insight on. An entire career and how we should view ourselves in this industry. Cause you’re right. Everyone has something unique and to embrace all of that uniqueness, because that’s what people are looking for in those rooms. Most of the time.
[00:08:25] Ashley Fuller: [00:08:25] Right. Exactly.
[00:08:27] Dane Reis: [00:08:27] Well, let’s move on to a time that I like to call your spotlight moment. That one moment in time you realized, yes, I am going to be an entertainer for a living or. Maybe it was, yes, this is what I need to be doing as an entertainer. Tell us about that.
[00:08:48]Ashley Fuller: [00:08:48]
Um, so that moment for me was, um, it was, it was my senior year in high school. And I, um, did summer conservatory at the college in the town. I lived in every summer. And, um, the summer conservatory that we did would put on a production every summer and this summer it was. Um, Les MIS and I was so excited about the show and I really, truly wanted to be Fontine. I wanted to play her so bad. Um, .
[00:09:17] I got the part of Fontine and,
um, during my performance in that show, Um, there was a moment where I, of course, was in the moment, you know, of, of acting and performing and, and being present. But I think every performer has that moment where you look out into the audience and you, you see and feel this amazing energy, but stillness and you have the audience in your hands, like they’re in the Palm of your hand and they’re watching your every move and listening to your, every.
[00:09:49] Note, and,
um, that moment is so powerful. And I just remember that. First of all, I was, I was just so excited that I was playing this part. It was a dream role for me. And, um, secondly, that, that we, we, we have something, we have this amazing. Um, I don’t want to say burden because it’s not a burden, but this amazing, um,
[00:10:12] Job as performers to handle that.
Um, that part, that, that feeling, that power, of having the audience in the Palm of your hand. To really. , , um, She did. I guess just be grateful for that moment and take care of it because, um, it’s just such , a special moment when you can be aware of that and be grateful for it and take care of the audience as a performer.
[00:10:37] And it was one of the most powerful moments I think in even to this day in my singing career,
um, of, uh, feeling that, and I was 18 years old.
[00:10:45]Dane Reis: [00:10:45] That’s amazing. That’s amazing to experience that feeling. I know exactly what you’re talking about. And you’re right. It is something so special. So precious. And. It’s something that doesn’t happen all the time.
[00:10:57] And it always comes up in the most odd time, then it surprises you every time. But it’s so great.
[00:11:02] I love that. Well, let’s, let’s piggyback on that question and let’s talk about your number one, booked it moment. Walk us through that day, the audition and callbacks. If they happen to be a part of it. What was going on in your life. And what about that moment? Makes it your favorite book? That moment?
[00:11:23]Ashley Fuller: [00:11:23] Well, yeah, this is still relating to that same show which is crazy. Cause I I’ve done. Really great,
um, amazing things that I’m super proud of, but this still stands out to me because I, I was on auditioning against, um, actors and very talented, experienced. Uh, performers who were, you know, 10, 15, 20 years older than I was. And, um, I, at the time, of course I was 18 years old, but I truly was like, I believe that I am meant to play this part.
[00:11:53] It, everything in my body says, I need this part. I need this part. So I literally would just eat, sleep and breathe the, , The old school CD of live is where it’s like the four discs. And I just really remember truly believing that I was going to get that part. And,
um, so the audition came and.
[00:12:14] We sang and the callbacks are exactly the same day.
Um, and we had to wait until the, the entire day was done of summer conservatory. And then they finally announced the roles, um, at the end and in front of everybody. And I felt like I won a lottery. Like they said my name. And I was like, who me?
[00:12:31] Oh my God. I just felt so cheesy, but I was so excited and,
um, and proud of myself because I put in the work and I believed in myself and. I, um, I wanted it, I wanted it so bad because I knew I deserved it. And that was, I think one of my biggest book didn’t moments in my life so far.
[00:12:52]Dane Reis: [00:12:52] I love that. And I love that. You’ve just said I put in the work because what we do. To the layman watching us on stage, it looks like people are having fun on stage and prancing around and singing some songs. And to be fair, there is a very real aspect of that because it is fun. We are lucky and fortunate that we get to do things that we’re passionate about and really properly love doing them and enjoy them.
[00:13:16] So it’s not a fallacy to see people enjoying themselves on stage or just acting to look like they’re having fun. I mean, sure. There’s. Those times when you’re sick and you don’t feel good and you, you know, you really are putting on the face, but the majority of the time you are really loving and relishing those moments.
[00:13:33] But you don’t get to experience them unless you put in the work. It is hard, hard work to do this professionally and to be on that stage. And it takes a lot. And you have to know that you gotta put in the work, but the payoff is ah, amazing.
[00:13:49] Ashley Fuller: [00:13:49] Yes, it is. It really is it’s it’s worth all of those hours and the doubts and the talking yourself back up again, and Brady to self back down again. It’s worth it all.
[00:14:00] Dane Reis: [00:14:00] Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, let’s take a moment to talk about the present. What projects are you working on now? What are you currently looking forward to? And of course, it’s a weird time where a bits, this global pandemic, how do you see the entertainment industry moving forward in the next couple of years?
[00:14:19]Ashley Fuller: [00:14:19] Yes.
Um, so currently I’m working on a project I’m really excited about and, um, it’s, it’s with my husband, Aaron Fuller and myself. Um, and also are a business partner, Teagan summer who, um, wrote Marilyn and, uh, produced and, , wrote Bettie page. He’s got a musical about Betty Page. He’s got all kinds of, um, musicals. He’s.
[00:14:40] Playwright. A songwriter, everything.
Um, but we, um, are taking on this new venture. Um, we are currently the, um, The estate owners of the Amelia Earhart estates. And, um, the three of us are putting a musical together about Amelia Earhart’s life. And. Um, Aaron is the composer and musical director. Teagan is writing the show. Um, .
Uh, I will be in the show as well as, um, actually. Ruby who was on, on your show? I was listening to a little bit for us. We have her on, on board with our team as well. And yeah. Um, but it’s, it’s a new venture that, um, we’re all really excited about because, um, we’re at a time where I think, um, women, especially it’s, it’s a celebration of this amazing, powerful figure, this everyday hero that, um, .
[00:15:30] That ends in such mystery. And it’s just exciting to be part of the creative team of, you know, My husband and I do music and collaborating with Teagan. And,
um, it’s really exciting. We’re in the middle of it right now. Creative wise. But, um, hopefully the next year and a half to two years, we should see things, uh, up and coming. Um, Oh, all things considered with COVID and whatnot, but.
[00:15:57] Hopefully fingers crossed.
Um, but yeah, so that’s, that’s, um, our biggest new project. And then of course, I’m, I sing every Tuesday with my bands, um, over the Tuscany and. Still keeping the live music alive. And as far as. Where I feel like the entertainment industry is moving forward. Um, I. Of course like everyone else, it seems really uncertain right now.
[00:16:20] I do feel like eventually things will,
um, kind of taper back in, but I also have this strong feeling that technology as it’s. , advancing. I think a lot of us are going to be out of work a lot more of because, um, unfortunately it just seems like live entertainment is not such a glorified thing as much anymore, you know, unless it’s like the.
[00:16:44] The big names coming in, like lady Gaga and Tony Bennett and things like that.
Um, I guess in that might be a grim way of looking at it, but I just feel like. I feel like it’s getting phased out a little bit. More and more, I’m starting to see it happening more and more.
[00:17:00]Dane Reis: [00:17:00] I definitely see that I’m, I’m hoping that, , like you said, you’ve got your band playing every Tuesday at the Tuscany and.
[00:17:08]I’m hoping that more of the smaller things start coming back. And I think there’s a massive market for that. It’s the way. A lot of venues used to be used to have your lounge acts in your lounge bands. I mean, Frank Sinatra used to sing in lounge bands. You know, that’s the way
[00:17:23] Ashley Fuller: [00:17:23] Right.
[00:17:25] Dane Reis: [00:17:25] you know, and maybe, maybe there’ll be some movement towards that because if you think about it, you can, you can quite easily social distance in a lounge.
[00:17:34] With people have enjoying cocktails and having some dinner and having a show at the same time. Sure. It’s not a 5,000 person theater, but. I think people still want to be entertained. And I think, I don’t know, it is. It’s a conundrum of this question. Cause we obviously don’t know what’s going to happen, but I love the question because it inspires so much different creative thought on this entire subject.
[00:17:55] Ashley Fuller: [00:17:55] Yeah. Well, I truly hope that that’s the case, because like you said, that is kind of what Vegas was founded on was the lounge acts where, you know, smoking a cigarette by the piano and singing and entertaining people.
Um, so I, I truly hope that that is the case. . And , that kind of opens back up again.
[00:18:14] Dane Reis: [00:18:14] Yeah, well, let’s see. right. Well, let’s move on to one of my favorite sections in the interview. I call it the grease lightening round. I am going to ask you a handful of questions. I want you to answer them as quickly and concisely as possible one after another. Are you ready?
[00:18:34] Ashley Fuller: [00:18:34] think so.
[00:18:35] Dane Reis: [00:18:35] Okay, first question. What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career as an entertainer?
[00:18:42]Ashley Fuller: [00:18:42] Financial stability.
[00:18:44]Dane Reis: [00:18:44] Second question. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
[00:18:49]Ashley Fuller: [00:18:49] Not everyone will like you and that’s okay.
[00:18:52]Dane Reis: [00:18:52] Brilliant advice. Third question. What is something that is working for you right now? Or if you’d like to go pre COVID, what was working for you before our industry went on? Pause.
[00:19:05]Ashley Fuller: [00:19:05] Being true to myself and not trying to be like anybody else.
[00:19:12]Dane Reis: [00:19:12] I love that. And. that answer has been coming up a couple of times throughout this interview process that I’ve been doing. And.
[00:19:21]I think. Where we struggle with that is that when we were first learning how to sing and dance or develop our craft, develop who we are as artists, we look to what people have already done.
[00:19:33] And we start off emulating. I mean, Let me look at, look at our children, you know, and they, they grow up and all they do is emulate older people, right. And their peers. So it’s very natural, but it’s so important to.
[00:19:48]Transition like once you’ve got that foundation, discover who you are. And discover what makes you unique? Like you had mentioned in the beginning of this interview, and I love that you bring that up because it’s so, it’s so important.
[00:20:03]Ashley Fuller: [00:20:03] It is. And I think that,
um, a lot of us, like you said, with schooling, With, um, training. Um, we’re, we’re told to saying, you know, it’s like the curriculum is the same. It’s like saying like this and do your arpeggios and sing like a soprano. You know, you’re probably never going to use that because you know, music is not going to be classical when you’re out auditioning. But I think that, um,
[00:20:24] It’s just so important to get to know yourself, like get to know who your voice get to know. How you move and, and just get to know every part of yourself, because that is how you will be a better performer. And that’s how you’re going to be more authentic. people are gonna want to watch you more because you, you have this,
um, sense of self and, you know, your weaknesses, your strengths, and, you know, um, you know, how to use them. And I, I just think that it’s, it’s really important sometimes to just sit in a room and.
[00:20:56] Not have anything going on. And for me, what I would do is I would use my voice in so many different ways to get to know my voice so I could figure out. How am I going to make this , make money and how am I gonna make this being an instrument that I can use until I die and , not hurt my voice and not.
Um, lose it. You know, things like that I think are really important for performers to do get, just get to know yourself as intimately as you can. Um, as a performer.
[00:21:23]Dane Reis: [00:21:23] Absolutely. And the next question. What is the best resource, whether that is a book, a movie, a YouTube video podcast, maybe a piece of technology you found is helping your career right now.
[00:21:38]Ashley Fuller: [00:21:38] I would say,
um, . It was my, my director, um, throughout all of my summer conservatory, his name’s Douglas, Austin.
[00:21:46] And he instilled in me professionalism, the no BS, you know, you’re when you’re on time, you’re late. When you’re early, you’re on time, I’m always have a pencil, always had an eraser. he really
[00:21:59] instilled in me the professional that I am and that I always want to be in strive to be. And,
um, it has helped me so much throughout my career and life.
[00:22:11]Dane Reis: [00:22:11] Brilliant. And that’s all very good advice. And the fifth question, . If you had to start your career from scratch, but you still had all the knowledge and experience you’ve collected from your career in this industry. What would you do or not do, would you do anything differently or would you keep it the same?
[00:22:31]Ashley Fuller: [00:22:31] I would definitely,
um, if I would focus a lot more on the business side of what we do. And marketing because I think, uh, especially now, um, it’s so important. It’s, it’s more important honestly than the, than our skills and our. Uh, abilities and , how great we can act a scene or dance. I feel like it’s, it is the most important thing and it’s been proven and we see people that are very successful, um, who might not be as talented as, you know, the next person or, um, So I think that, yeah, I would definitely focus more on the business side of it on the marketing side of things. In school, we are just taught to, , sing a certain way. And this is how you belt. Here’s how you do this. Here’s how you do it per wet. Um, but I think that that is something that is so important in what we do is how we market ourselves and how we. Be really sell ourselves.
[00:23:27]Dane Reis: [00:23:27] Absolutely. I’m so glad you brought that up. The marketing side of things is so important and you’re right. It is a newer revelation in. This industry now, the marketing of yourself or an artist has always been around, but traditionally you had your agent or your manager to kind of take care of that for you now with social media. It’s on you and. It’s so important. I mean, . You’ve got to think of Instagram as you’re running resume. You have to constantly be showing the world what you’re doing, what you’re up to, because there’s so much noise out there now with everything outside of the entertainment world, inside the entertainment world, people. can’t know who you are and what you do, unless they can. Discover you and find you it’s so difficult now to break through that noise. And it’s not just necessarily about getting yourself discovered and known. There was a very, very real, if not more important aspect of the marketing that it’s, what can you provide? The people casting you in hiring you? What leverage can they gain from you? They want to get to your audience, to the people that you have that intimate connection with. Because the end of the day, they’re just a company writing checks and creating a show. They need other people to. Know about it so they can buy the tickets and come see it. So you’re right. Marketing is so, so, so important. Having that website, having your social media. Altogether and in order is so important these days.
[00:24:56] Ashley Fuller: [00:24:56] Yes, it is. It is.
[00:24:59]Dane Reis: [00:24:59] Yeah, even though many of us hate it. That’s totally fine. The point is it’s the reality,
[00:25:05] Ashley Fuller: [00:25:05] know. Right. I want to go back in the day where, you know, I would call it the record plays and be like, I’m in is I need your address. I’m sending in a recording of myself to be famous. That’s what I want to go back to those days, Dane, not these.
[00:25:19] Dane Reis: [00:25:19] sailed.
[00:25:23] Alright. And the last question. What is the golden nugget knowledge dropped. You have learned from your successful career in this industry,
[00:25:34]Ashley Fuller: [00:25:34] Okay. So this one is hard for me to just list one eye, but I’m going to say them all and I’ll. I’ll be short.
Um, first of all we already talked about was put in the work, like put in the work and learn your craft and. Everything about it and submerge yourself in it. . Do it for all the right reasons. I can not tell you how many times I will go to a show or anything I will see and hear a beautiful singer or, um, A performer. And they are singing all the right notes. They are looking beautiful, but they are clearly not doing this out of passion and joy. It is more of a grand stand thing. And I cannot tell you how I just, it makes me feel gross inside and makes me not want to watch that person. I think it’s still important to be in this and go after it because you love it. And everything in your body and soul is saying, this is what you were born to do if that’s not the case. And you know what.
[00:26:32] If you just want some, you know, an easy paycheck, then go for it. But if you’re in this for the long term, you have to love it. You have to love it so much.
[00:26:39]Dane Reis: [00:26:39] Absolutely could not agree more. And to wrap up this interview, Ashley, it is time to give yourself a plug. Where can we find you? How do our listeners connect with you? Is there anything you want to promote?
[00:26:54]Ashley Fuller: [00:26:54]
Uh, I would, um, so the Tuscany is a casino out here in Las Vegas. It’s right off of the strip on Flamingo. And it’s a, it’s a gem of a place in Las Vegas and, um, my bands and I, we performed there every Tuesday night from 7:30 PM to 11:30 PM. It’s free. It’s safe, socially distance. Um, it’s such a great place. Um, it’s a room that really listens and appreciates music and talent and. Um, it’s just a fun place to go out and sing and, and listen to music. Um, that’s what I’m doing every Tuesday nights. And then also I do have a song that I wrote, um, Uh, let’s see, I think it was about two or three years ago. It’s on Apple. It’s on iTunes and it’s also, you can just listen to it on YouTube because, um, the reason I wrote the song was for. I’m a child of mine. And, um, it’s about, it’s really about raising awareness about child loss, stillbirth miscarriage. Um, things for women who are having experienced that. Um, and it’s, it’s called a new kind of Christmas. So if you know anybody that’s struggling with or has experienced child loss, miscarriage, stillbirth, Or even just any type of loss of a child, um, Just send them over to listen to the song because I think it’ll really be healing and
[00:28:11]Dane Reis: [00:28:11] Oh, thank you so much for that. I will absolutely make sure that everything that you just mentioned is in the description of this episode. And
[00:28:21] Ashley Fuller: [00:28:23] Yes, you can.
[00:28:25] I’m on a Facebook, of course. And I’m the only Ashley Fuller in Las Vegas. So you’ll find me really quick on there. And on Instagram I am at Ashley Fuller LV.
[00:28:36]Dane Reis: [00:28:36] . Perfect. Ashley. Thank you so much for joining me today on the interview. It has been so great to have you on.
[00:28:43]Ashley Fuller: [00:28:43] Thank you so much for having me and thank you so much for.
[00:28:47]Doing this for all of us performers so we can listen and share in each other’s stories. I think it’s such a great thing. You’re doing Dane.
[00:28:54]Dane Reis: [00:28:54] Well, thank you so much.