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Horizon Christian senior Ashley Wyatt releases an EP of her songs

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Horizon Christian senior Ashley Wyatt co-wrote the four songs on her new EP Beautifully Made.By the time she was discovered, Ashley Wyatt had been uploading videos of her cover song performances to YouTube for more than a year.

It was her version of “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers that piqued an interest from Los Angeles-based producer Shannon McArthur. A quick Google search by Wyatt and her mother confirmed his legitimacy, and the now 18-year-old had to consider whether she wanted to whole-heartedly pursue a music career.

“It had always been in the back of my mind that I would want to do something like that. But I was kind of just waiting to see what would happen,” she said.

When McArthur reached out to Wyatt in March 2013, he told her he liked her voice and that it was different than anything he’d heard before. Together, he wanted to see if they could make something of it. Though Wyatt grew up in Oregon and has spent most of her life in Tualatin, her voice has a slight twang to it that can sometimes be heard in the pop music she plays.

In August, Wyatt flew out to McArthur’s co-owned studio, Research Music & Sound, where she spent a week recording and contributing to the writing process of the four songs featured on her EP, “Beautifully Made,” which was released last week. Prior to the studio sessions, Wyatt and McArthur worked on the lyrics over Skype, tweaking and shaping Wyatt’s original words into the final versions that were put to music.

“I find my inspiration for my songs from what goes on in my daily life and from my close friends and family,” Wyatt said. “I try to connect with the listeners of my music by being completely honest and writing lyrics that are relatable and could help someone who is going through the same situation I was in while I wrote the song.”

Wyatt’s lyrics are reminiscent of the artists she finds inspiration from — Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran. They’re about finding yourself and your place in the world, young love and growing up. As a graduating senior at Horizon Christian High School, Wyatt’s life reflects the transitional phase her lyrics suggest. In the fall, she will be attending Linfield College and majoring in music, continu ing on the path that was set in motion 15 years ago.

When Wyatt turned 3, her mother, Teresa, enrolled her in piano lessons after listening to her sing along with every Disney princess song she heard. Around elementary school, Wyatt’s interest in piano slipped, but her mother kept her going — something the musician is grateful for today. By sixth grade, Wyatt was taking voice lessons on top of piano, and by high school she was teaching herself the guitar. Still, after years of playing and a summer spent writing and recording, it wasn’t until her EP release show at McMenamins Chapel Pub that Wyatt realized being a performing artist truly is her end goal.

“Everything just kind of links back to last week,” she said. “Obviously, at choir performances and everything, you’re like, ‘This is cool, I want to do this.’ But getting up and being in front of everyone on Thursday definitely solidified that this is something I want to do as a living. It was the coolest thing ever.”

To a crowd of 150 in a venue meant for 125, Wyatt performed her first show as a solo artist, thus setting the path for what she hopes will be a lifetime of performances. By the end of this summer, she has tentative plans to be working on a full-length album, but just like she did before McArthur found her, Wyatt is waiting to see what happens.

Watch Wyatt’s covers on her YouTube channel at youtube.com/AshleyW113. Her EP can be purchased on iTunes, Amazon and CD Baby.

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