2019 has been an interesting year for adult contemporary artists on both sides of the dial, and among the more interesting players I’ve discovered hanging around the indie ranks is none other than Dan Ashley, whose single “What Really Matters” has been raising some eyebrows among many scene stalwarts lately. Mellow to the bone and designed around its brooding vocal, “What Really Matters” is an unsophisticated ballad with a fanciful set of harmonies that are stirring, unsuspectingly emotional, and rather well-grouped for how cosmetically diverse they are. While Ashley might not be as much of a seasoned pro in the studio as he is in the world of journalism, but he’s proving himself to be quite the adept singer and songwriter in this unapologetically honest single/video combo.
Potent pop vocals can often make or break a track that has as black and white a structure as “What Really Matters,” and in this situation, they’re the cherry on top of a grand sundae. Ashley has a lot of unchecked aggression in his modus operandi here, and though it could stand to be refined a bit more in his future projects, there’s no denying that it has a positive impact on the lyrical narrative he’s creating in this single. “What Really Matters” calls for a lot of passion from its singer, and lucky for us, it gets every last drop of intensity that it requires from Mr. Dan Ashley.
Dan Ashley a vocalist I would recommend keeping a close eye on, especially as we prepare to enter a new decade in pop history.