We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley AT and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ashley, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
The desire and need to express one’s true self is something that can’t be ignored or denied. Try it, and I promise you that it will eat away at your heart and mind until it either drives you crazy or you lose yourself to the mundane path of purposelessness. Maya Angelou once said “I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as ‘making a life’.” Although I work a 9-5, developing and exploring my creative side is a lifetime commitment that brings me the most fulfillment. My goal is always to take what I learn through different life experiences, and channel them into creative projects that help make sense of the world, not just for myself, but for others to grow from too. I learned that from the artists, musicians, and creatives that have inspired me. So it’s only right that I do the same for others through my work. I’ve discovered that a creative career can manifest itself in different forms, be it a book, a poem, or an event that creates an intangible yet still profoundly felt experience. As long as it aligns with my mission to spread Love, Peace, and Light, I feel successful and content with my creations.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m an author, a poet, a writer of many mediums. Though whatever form, the most important thing that I do is create work that reflects my thoughts and my mission as “Ashley A.T., writer of the Ash Tree, the Tree of Life, here to spread Love, Peace, and Light.” Put simply, I’m a creative writer that just wants to spread positivity in the world. I have two books published so far. My first novel, Where Love Resides, tells the story of a curse that falls upon a city after an activist is killed, and how a young man must teach the divided community that’s hurt him time and time again, how to heal and come together for the sake of the future. 2020 has shown itself to be a year that will change how we connect with each other, and I feel it’s helped us to be more mindful and intentional about how we come together in the future. The movements across the country following the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and unfortunately countless others, showed that we can and have learned to stand together in the fight for justice. I’m proud to see how we’ve grown from this time, and though we still have much more work to do, I hope we’ll carry that sense of unity into this decade and beyond. It reminds me of one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned through my journey, which is that there is power in bringing people together.

Since art is something that comes from within, early in my endeavors I was working alone. It helped me to learn enough about my strengths as a creative, but now I’m learning how to connect with people who use their business and marketing insights to propel the work of artists even further. They say, “If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.” There’s so much we all have to offer with our unique skills and talents, and when we bring those together, we can help each other succeed as we succeed too. Through my work, I want to create spaces where we can support each other and use the platforms that are available to us to share our work with bigger audiences. The book market I hosted for the Where Love Resides release party is one of my favorite projects. I was enamored by the magic that filled the space as all the different creatives and entrepreneurs showcased their work in one space, and that everyone in attendance got to witness and enjoy. We all create these projects that have SO MUCH to offer the world if we just get the right exposure! So, I was so honored and proud to be able to create a space for us all to benefit from, and I still get overwhelmed thinking about the success of the vibe we all manifested that night. I’m working on a new project to continue creating exposure for us in a virtual setting. It’s in the early phases of development, but I’m excited to have another way to use my platform to spread “Love, Peace and Light”.

Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
Atlanta is such a beautiful city! What I love most about it is the diverse music scene that thrives here. If I had a week to show someone around the city, I’d plan each day around different music venues. Starting on northside, gotta check out the CocaCola Roxy at The Battery. I caught Miguel’s exhilarating sold out show there and loved it! We’d spend a day eating and shopping in Buckhead and experience a show at Buckhead Theater. My first time there was for the ATL Collective’s Prince Tribute Concert. They always bring the best local talent together to honor the greats. I’d plan a stop by Variety Playhouse in Little Five Points. I love catching the indie artists that stop by, and they always match the hipstery vibe out there. Let’s just say this week happens to be when AfroPunkATL is in town, we’d absolutely have to go to 787 Windsor. The warehouse-turned-concert venue in the middle of Mechanicsville is beyond dope! Then finally, after a sunset ferris wheel ride over Centennial Park, we’d end our concert tour at Tabernacle. I was flabbergasted when I heard it used to be a church, but it makes sense because standing in front of the stage with everyone dancing, jumping, and rocking the floor that literally feels like it’s about to fall in is absolutely a test of one’s faith. Almost a spiritual experience. Totally worth it.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to first thank my grandmother, Geraldine Jefferson. As an English teacher, a student of Life and my first best friend, she always inspired me to learn as much as I can to be able to create a life that benefits, not only ourselves but, everyone around us. Throughout her life, she’s always believed in and exercised her power to create change in the communities she’s been a part of, and seeing the example she set as a leader has been key in knowing the role I play in my work. In fact, she helped me define the meaning of the Ash Tree for my name. Thank you, Grammy! I want to of course thank my mother and father for creating me and raising me to live by a standard of excellence. Education was always important growing up, and they made sure to make sure that my sister and I were able to take advantage of the opportunities that come from doing well in school. I try to carry that standard into my corporate and creative endeavors, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without their support and guidance. Last, I want to thank all of my family and friends. They see and encourage me to share the potential that I don’t always see in myself. I’m so grateful for the love they show from believing in me. It continues to nourish me and inspire me to continue doing more.

Website: www.ashley-at.com
Instagram: https://instagram.com/_oftheashtree
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashley-a-t-a437231a6
Twitter: https://twitter.com/_oftheashtree
Facebook: https://facebook.com/_oftheashtree

Image Credits
Tola Faminu, Courtney Gurlie, Ravaan Guyton