The Bangladeshi-Canadian professional guitarist, singer-songwriter, and recording artist, Ash Ravens, has a stellar musical adventure. And most recently, he released his second English single, “Home,” in February. We had the opportunity to find out more about this musical journey and discuss “Home” in further depth.
• You’ve been in the music industry for more than a decade. What was it that first drew you to music?
• In the very beginning guitar was a simple pleasure to get lost into. I was a shy kid growing up, and any form of art always attracted me. I used to draw and paint as a kid. In my teenage days the attraction to music came through stronger, and I started learning guitar. As a young, awkward teenager I wanted to be a rockstar in my high school so I could be popular with the girls hahaha. But eventually music became more of an obsession than anything else in my life. It has been a crazy adventure since then!
• A professional guitarist, a singer-songwriter, a mixer, and a producer. You’re incredibly multi-talented! What do you enjoy the most out of all of them?
• I really do enjoy all the different things that I do. Each one of them has their own rewards. I enjoy mixing and producing music for other artists, to bring their vision to life and create something that I wouldn’t create on my own. But if I had to pick just one, I would say I enjoy performing live the most – sharing my songs with the world, trying to channel something that you can’t put in words and hopefully the audience feels it – that always gives me the highest feeling! I love to improvise and jam on songs on stage, and that is always exciting because every night is different and you never know what exactly might happen!
• Do you find one is more expressive than the other when it comes to creating instrumental pieces and lyrical songs?
• They are two different animals. With lyrical songs, it is a little easier to communicate what I’m feeling to the audience because there are words and it’s easier for the average listener to understand what I’m saying. With instrumentals I have to work a little bit harder – from composition to execution, every note needs to have the correct technique, position, inflection, and intention to help the audience understand what I’m trying to communicate with the guitar. But when the instrumental pieces come together correctly, they can be more expressive because the listener can color the music with their own experiences in life and it becomes something more meaningful to them!
• How would you sum up your experience between the Bangladesh music scene and the Canadian music scene?
• As you may know, Bangladesh is a small developing nation in South Asia. As such, the industry there is quite small. There is a good amount of talent in Bangladesh, but not as much infrastructure and support to help them grow. The industry is quite tightly shut off by people who already made it big there, and competition is high. In comparison, Canada has a huge music and arts scene, and the support for the arts is really big in Canada. I felt very welcome in to the scene with my 2021 release “Beautiful Lies”, with local and national radios picking up the single, blogs writing reviews and interviews, and also got selected for a special TV show to be aired sometime around May 2022. If you have something unique and are authentic to your art, you can find avenues in Canada where you can grow as an artist.
• Congrats on your second and latest English single, “Home.” It’s quite emotive. I’m glad you chose to share this personal experience with us, but you wrote it 10 years ago. Why did you bring it to life in 2022 particularly?
• That’s true, it has been 10 years haha! When I wrote the majority ideas of for the song, I was studying in Los Angeles College of Music. I had just left my hometown and then-girlfriend to go study and pursue a music career. Back then I was an amateur songwriter and although the idea was there, the song never felt complete to me. Back then I was also not sure if I ever want to come out as a singer-songwriter – I was focusing on being a professional guitarist only. After LA, I moved to Melbourne, Australia where life happened – I got busy with teaching, playing sessions, touring and live gigs and released an instrumental album in 2017. All this took up all the time I had in the day. When 2020 and global lockdowns happened, that’s when I got some time to revisit some old works and start developing more as a songwriter. I kept on re-writing the song with the core idea until it became acceptable to me to release to the public! That’s why it took 10 years haha!
• Can you tell us more about the process of composing and recording “Home”?
Sure. The lyrics for “Home” were pretty much finalized in my bedroom between 2020-and 2021. I recorded the electric guitars, keyboards, and drums in my home studio. For the nylon string guitars, I used a small professional recording studio owned by a friend. For recording the vocals, I used the studio of Chris Birkett (who worked with Sinnead O’ Connor, Quincy Jones, etc). The vocals were recorded in Toronto. During the recording session, Chris also came up with gorgeous harmonies that you can hear in the choruses. I was really glad about how they came together.
• If we may ask, did you have doubting moments when you left your hometown and your partner to pursue your dream? If so, how did you overcome it and focus on your career?
• I think having doubts is very common for a musician or artist. I had many moments of doubt and faced a lot of difficulties – financially and mentally on this journey. I had to endure a lot of hardships that come with choosing a music career. But I was mentally ready for it. When I gave up my corporate career, I knew this journey will be very hard. But I kept my focus on my goal and I let go of any distractions or desires that doesn’t support the music goal. Fortunately, I have a supportive and loving partner who is with me 100% – that always helps. I think in this business you have to take one day at a time and keep going ahead with your vision. I still have a long way to go but I believe that is what helped me so far.
• The black & white music video is highly atmospheric! Can you take us behind the scenes of its creation?
• The music video was shot by a talented Canadian-Bangladeshi filmmaker named Fahd Kabir. We came up with the idea that the video should capture the feel of the song and the loneliness one may feel in a new city – which is true in my case. The video is shot around Ottawa downtown and surrounding areas. On both days of the shoot, it was insanely cold – around -20c! We literally had our camera batteries drained very quickly due to the cold. On one occassion, our cinematographer Duke almost fell into a frozen lake while trying to capture a shot! It was a scary moment but thankfully nothing bad happened. We were able to capture the beauty of a snowy city and the loneliness of a newcomer to the town and the black and white color brought out the best feel for the song.
• So far, you’ve had an impressive musical journey indeed! But if you had to pick a few highlights from that journey, what would they be?
• I think it’s an ongoing journey and the best is yet to come, but I recently got selected to perform at a concert series in Ottawa that we performed in the legendary Shenkman Arts Theater and will be broadcasted in Rogers TV Channel in May 2022. This was a big highlight for me in recent times. Other than that, performing in the legendary Corner Hotel in Melbourne with Megan Sidwell and touring at the Tamworth Country Music Festival with Adrian Thomas are big highlights for me.
• For now, what are the most pleasant and frustrating parts of being a musician?
• The pleasant part is the creation- the writing, the recording, the performing! Making music is always a pleasure. The frustrating part is competing in a world that’s oversaturated with quick entertainment like social media and the listener’s attention span growing smaller and smaller.
• Thank you for the opportunity! Can you tell your fans about your upcoming plans?
• You are very welcome! Right now the plan is to play live gigs as much as possible – now that live music is slowly coming back! Meanwhile, I will be getting ready to record my next album! Come follow me on my journey!
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