Primary Instrument: Cello
Coming from a family with a musical and theatrical background, her father a blues singer and mother a former actor, Ashia knew she was meant to lead a life in an artistic field. She was born in Poland, but her family came to the United States via former West Germany in 1984 due to political and social upheaval. Upon settling in the U.S. a few years later, she began her cello studies at the age of 9. While still in high-school, she started to combine singing and playing the cello and continued this distinct concept well into college at Central Washington University with a Farrell Merit Scholarship recital titled Non-Traditional Cello. While in college Ashia enjoyed the opportunity to perform classical cello in the United States and abroad in Japan and Canada.
At the age of 21, Ashia left school and ran away to play cello and sing with Cirque du Soleil's O show in Las Vegas, NV. for a four month time span. She returned a year later after traveling to Europe and continuing her studies to join “O” full-time, where she currently performs today. Outside of working with O, Ashia has performed alongside band members of the BlueManGroup and cast members of sister Cirque du Soleil shows, as well as completing a B.A. in music at CWU. Ashia has appeared in national publications such as; Yoga International, InStyle, and the Tacoma News Tribune.
Ashia’s live performances create not only musical interaction but a visual interlude that consists of a duet act with a circus hoop artist named, Fernanda Mas Monteiro. Ashia sings and plays a version of her CD title song Pay to be Loved” while Montero creates a visual storyline within Ashia’s performance. It is Ashia’s desire to take her experiences with Cirque du Soleil, her love of Cabaret and Burlesque and combine them with her brand of music for a complete experience for her listening audience. In a world filled with audio visual effects, it is Ashia’s hope to create a total experience when coming to her live shows.
Her recent favorite projects have been organizing and performing in Cabaret shows that include dance, burlesque, and physical acting. Ashia is looking forward to pursuing writing additional songs and performing her unique blend of songs on tour when she leaves the “O” show in December, 2007.
Ashia blends sensual and provoking vocals with various colors of the cello ranging from plucked bass lines to sonorous melodic bowed phrases. With her unique ability to play cello and sing simultaneously, she creates songs with elements of improvisational, anti-folk, blues, and classical into her own style of expression, text-coloring, and nuance.
Having had classical training in both cello and voice, Ashia freely expresses her lively and dynamic nature. Her sincerity was felt by Janos Starker, renown cellist and pedagogue, when he told her you have soul during his master class.
Pay to be Loved is Ashia’s debut release that infuses elements of jazz, folk, classical and improvisational concepts not only musically but vocally. Classification is not a word used to describe Ashia’s music. Creativity, experimentation, no boundaries and cutting edge talent that can appeal to true music appreciators with an ear towards the clever and original is the demographic of her freshman offering.
Each cut showcases another side of Ashia’s talent, from her sweeping vocal range of clear and crystalline falsetto to her deep hued alto resonance. Ashia is not your typical vocalist she has fashioned witty and inventive lyrics and highlighted them with her capable and versatile abilities, notice the intro to “Fossil,” where Ashia uses her voice as an instrument to initiate the introduction of the song. Or the poignant “Ne Me Quitte Pas,” where Ashia passionately evokes the French language to reach you heart.
Additionally, most cellists pluck strings when singing. Ashia with her impeccable pitch has developed the command to sing while bowing her instrument, a task not easily done and for the vocal expert a skill to be admired. Pay to be Loved is an adventurous and skilled presentation for such a young lioness. Picture, Edith Piaf making chocolate with Tom Waits and you will truly see Ashia!
To bare only your voice and your cello, writing your own music in the artistic element to boot, well, you've got guts. She's also got the pipes, and a steady hand on the strings with a tonal quality that is often something special. Akin to coffeehouse music, this is mood music, which Could appeal more to the theatrical crowd than the teens, but there's a captivating magic to it if you allow yourself the time to sit and stare and ponder. You can lose yourself in the emotion of the complexity of the disc's simpleness. Well worth a listen, for the open-minded.
John Book, The Run Off Groove
Ashia is a singer, songwriter, and cellist. For some that might mean a road to quirkiness, and in Ashia's case it's not a bad thing. Pay To Be Loved (self-released) is a wonderful 6-song EP which shows how expressive she is on the vocals and with the cello, where she can be happy, melodramatic, and dark all within a few minutes. Her singing tends to be on the Regina Spektor side, where it might sound child-like at first, but becomes much more as you turn every corner with her. While having a cello might seem basic for some, she manages to bring the listener into any motif she feels like creating, be it jazz, pop, classical, or something that might be considered a scatterbrain hop, skip, and a jump to the next song (and that was meant as a compliment). You see her and might think of a variation of a Vanessa Carlton but if this is pop, it's more of the Bjork and Feist variety, not Jessica Simpson. With the range of music she plays here, she could easily do a country song, move right into some light punk, and perhaps do what Elvis Costello did with The Juliet Letters. But she is her own woman with her own style, doing her own thing in her own time, and I hope she'll be able to move up into the world for everyone to hear and appreciate.
Mite, The Chicken Fish Speaks
I love this release. Ashia combines the vocal sensibilities of Elenie Mandel and the avant-garde musical approach of The Dresden Dolls with the intensiveness of P.J. Harvey. How could this not be good? Standouts include the title track, Pay to Be Loved as well as Nomanmad and Ne Me Quitte Pas. The songs are a definite addition to my MP3 mix.
Chris Spector, Midwest Record Recap
A sexy lady that grew up when alternative was hot but gets her paycheck from Cirque du Soleil knows the value of visuals in presentation. With an alt. temperament tempered by Judy Henske beat moves, this is alt for real alt tastes. With some Nico by way of Edith Piaf, if any new record was custom made to be a Christmas gift for the art chick in your life, this is it.
Anna Maria Stjärnell, Luna Kafé Menu - Full Moon #137
Ashia Grzesik makes a persuasive debut with this record. The singer/cellist has a flexible voice and plays her instrument beautifully. Divine Killer sees her bluesy delivery evoking a P.J Harvey feel while the music heads elsewhere. Fossil heads into vaguely Rasputina-esque territory but she ahs her own voice. She makes a fabulous version of Jaques Brel's Ne me quitte pas. Ashia, armed with just her cello and voice gets to the songs heart. Her music defies easy categorization and is all the better for it. She has a bright future ahead of her.
Pay To Be Loved
Divine Killer: Fossil: Pay To Be Loved: Ne Me Quitte Pas: Nomanmad: Clean For You
Personnel: Ashia: Cello and Voice.
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