Aslyn

Aslyn: Over

There's a shocking intimacy to singer-songwriter Aslyn's debut album,Lemon Love. That's not to say that it's full of titillating sexualimagery or blistering diatribes. Listening to the album, which wasproduced by Guy Chambers (Robbie Williams, Jewel) and Eric Valentine(SmashMouth, Third Eye Blind, Queens of the Stone Age), you get thesense that you've stumbled across a trunk full of a stranger's lettersand that at any moment you'll be discovered reading them. They revealthe stories behind breakups and betrayals, yet they are buoyant,intoxicated by life and love. They are pure Aslyn.Raised outside Gainesville, Florida, Aslyn began studying classicalpiano when she was seven. Throughout her school years, she playedanywhere she could - in talent contests, at weddings, at church. Aftergraduation, Aslyn was faced with the decision that would eventuallybring her to a new phase in her musical journey.  She could use hersavings to buy a cheap car, or leave home in pursuit of something more.Aslyn, without a second thought, took off for Atlanta, where she giggedaround town and crashed on friends' couches. Eventually she did acquirea clunker of a car, which became an unusual metaphor for her love life,inspiring the album's title track, "Lemon Love.""Every car I've ever owned has turned to be a lemon. Of course, thatrevelation would come only once I'd spent more on repairs than the carwas worth!" Aslyn says.  "My beat-up cars have, one by one, all fallenapart on me. And ironically," she chuckles, "love has done the same. Theminute you aren't paying attention comes the breakdown."Aslyn remained dedicated to her craft as a songwriter and performer,writing every day, playing the local clubs. She was drinking in allkinds of music - from Queen, Coldplay and The Corrs to The Beatles,Earth, Wind & Fire and Stevie Wonder - while simultaneously discoveringand developing her own artistic voice."Relentless pursuit" are the words Aslyn uses to describe her journey."You just don't stop. You remain a student and learn and grow and neverstop." In 2002, everything started to come together. Her approach tosongwriting crystallized and out poured many of the songs that wouldform the foundation for Lemon Love. Her infectious hooks and passionatevocals stirred up music industry interest and Aslyn eventually went toLos Angeles to showcase for several labels.At Capitol, she was asked to play her most recently written song, whichat the time was "493-1023." The title refers to her childhood phonenumber. The song, which she co-wrote with one of her brothers, is a raw,spirited reflection on loyalty betrayed and friendship forsaken.Capitol offered her a deal on the spot. Sensing it was a good match, shecanceled all her other appointments and signed on.  Soon after, shebegan recording with Guy Chambers. "I brought up Guy's name because Iwas moved by the work he had done with Robbie Williams," she says. "Hehas a strong song-oriented perspective with an English twist." Sherecorded eight tracks with Chambers and the remaining four with renownedLos Angeles-based producer, Eric Valentine."I remember showing up on the first day of recording with Eric and therewere 10 different pianos in the room," Aslyn recalls. "I knew right offthat we were going to get it right."The result is Lemon Love, a dozen disarming songs that are the musicalequivalent of a short-story collection, or as Aslyn puts it, "stories oflove found and love lost, of loyalty ruined and masks mistaken, of theironic freedom and glass box of religion, and of the desire and passionfor an unknown tomorrow."Every storyteller craves an audience, so naturally Aslyn's excited abouttaking her songs on the road. During her club days in Atlanta, peoplewould often stop her on the street to ask about her songs, especially"Wally," a poignant, exuberant tribute to her grandparent's 55-year,'til-death-do-us-part romance. Complete strangers would mention the songand even sing it back to her."That was what kept me going...the feeling that I had connected withsomeone through the offering of song," Aslyn remembers. "That was myfuel. And it still is.""Be The Girl," a song she wrote about a guy "whose interest in me seemedto be solely superficial," could just as well express her resolve tomake sure her music continues to strike a chord with her audience:"I'm not here to be aroundand be that girl you forget aboutAll I want is just to be a song that you can feel longer than just rightnow"