Creative Conversation

Ashleigh-Jane Cole | Edition Three


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How did you get into your line of work?

Music was always something I loved from a young age. I always knew I wanted to sing and be an artist but I never really had any creative guidance growing up. I worked incredibly hard, went to university and studied, practiced and performed. I had truly learnt so much that in return I wanted to give something back. I wanted to give anyone that had the same passions and dreams that I had an opportunity, so consequently I started Music Box Academy and I shared all my training and passions with these students.


What do you enjoy most about your job?

That I’m helping so many people with their passions. I help train people who are incredibly talented and we create music that is something that they dream of. When a student overcomes their hardships, it's incredibly rewarding.

Where do your ideas/creativity evolve from?

When it comes to my original music, I would say my inspiration and creativity evolved from my life’s hardships. The experiences and moments that have shaped or impacted my life are the topics I write about. I think we all have a life story and I choose to tell the world mine through my music.

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What are some of the challenges you face in a creative role?

I think in New Zealand there is a strong case of tall poppy syndrome and judgement. Saying statements such as “Oh music is not a real job” or “you’ll never get anywhere with that”,  but that is their reality and not mine. It was a challenge to say I want to be a musician growing up because a lot of people believed / still believe that it’s not a job and won’t pay any bills. I’m now so proud and happy to say that I’m a successful business owner of a fast-growing music academy/full-time musician!

Is there a favourite project you've created?

It’s so hard to pick a favourite but one project that’s stuck with me was when I helped my 12-year-old student write, record, produce and release her first original song. We had professional CDs printed and photo shoots / performances that lead to the release! It was so much fun! That’s just half of the amazing things we get up to at Musicbox, we’re forever creating incredible opportunities for our students! It’s so rewarding and so much fun that most of the time it’s like I'm not even working.

Another project I’m really proud of is the release of my album that will be coming out early next year! So stay tuned guys!


Do you have any tips and advice for fellow creatives?

I say be true to yourself, push boundaries and don’t feel like you have to alter yourself to fit into this industry’s unrealistic expectations. If you want to get to the level that you dream of then you have to work harder than hard! You have to make your passions and dreams a reality in your day today! Every day I’m working on and furthering my craft.

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