MEET LAUREN ASH: A SOULFUL MUSE FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON
BY EBBY MAGAZINE
In a world where the holiday season is celebrated with joy and cheer, Lauren Ash, the beloved Canadian actress, comedian, and emerging musical artist has taken a unique and inspiring approach.
“MY LIFE IS OVERFLOWING WITH MANY BLESSINGS BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN I’M IMPERVIOUS TO SADNESS OR DEPRESSION, ESPECIALLY AT THIS TIME OF YEAR.”
In a world that often rushes through the holidays, Canadian actress, comedian, and now burgeoning musical artist Lauren Ash offers a refreshing perspective. With the release of her original anti-holiday anthem “Sad This Christmas” via Wax Records, Ash ushers in a new era of holiday music—one that acknowledges the complexity of this festive season. While Ash’s love for Christmas is palpable, she understands that for many, it can be a time of mixed emotions. Her three-song EP, featuring reimagined classics like “All I Want For Christmas” and “White Christmas,” speaks to the soul, capturing the bittersweet sentiments that the holiday season can evoke. Ash's musical journey, marked by the success of her debut single “Now I Know,” has unveiled a side of her deeply rooted in the edginess of 90s rock and pop-punk. With each note, she invites us to reflect, feel, and find purpose in the luxury of living authentically. As we embark on this holiday season, let Lauren Ash be your guide to a more meaningful celebration, one that resonates with the very essence of your soul.
Your new holiday release, “Sad This Christmas,” explores the complex emotions that can accompany the holiday season. What inspired you to create a song that earnestly addresses these feelings?
Christmas is my absolute favorite time of the year. I keep a Christmas Tree up in a spare bedroom in my house all year round! Even still, Christmas can bring up complicated feelings for me. I don’t feel like there are a lot of Christmas songs that approach the holiday in a melancholy way. I felt like if I, as a massive Christmas fan, could want to hear a song that encapsulated this concept, then there must be other people out there who it would resonate with as well.
You’ve mentioned your deep affinity for 90’s rock and pop-punk music. How did this influence shape the sound and style of your music, especially in your holiday EP?
Blink 182 is one of my absolute favorite bands and is a constant touchstone when I’m working on music with my producer Robbie Brett (who co-produced Sad This Christmas along with Matt Snell) I send him snippets of moments on obscure blink songs as inspiration for stuff we’re working on. So, if it feels like there is a little of that vibe in there, it’s definitely my biggest influence musically. Someone once described my music as “if Gwen Stefani fronted Blink 182” which is a MASSIVE compliment to me. I also had someone tell me that my voice reminded them of a more polished Courtney Love which is also one of the best comparisons I could ever ask for. Hole’s “Live Through This” was the first CD I ever bought and it’s an album that deeply influenced my musical sensibilities. Even if a song I write doesn’t end up sounding exactly like that older 90s pop punk sound, it likely started with inspiration from that world. It’s just the music that is most exciting to me and that I know the best.
“Sad This Christmas” captures the idea that the holiday season can be challenging for many people. How do you hope this song resonates with those who may be experiencing difficulties during this time of year?
My life is overflowing with many blessings but that doesn’t mean I’m impervious to sadness or depression, especially at this time of year. So, I hope that me singing this song, expressing a truth that is very real for me, helps other people feel less alone. I want people to know that they are seen. And if they feel misunderstood, there’s people out there like me who can relate to them.
Your debut single, “Now I Know,” was a great success, reaching #1 on the iTunes Canadian Rock Charts. How has your background in acting and comedy informed your musical journey, and what motivated you to step into the music industry?
When I was a kid and teen, my real dream in life was to be a rockstar. Yes, I also wanted to be an actor, but I would have much preferred to front a rock band for a living. I’ve written music since I was 13 when I got my first acoustic guitar. As recently as 2022 I was still writing songs in my living room when I would get home from work on my TV show. This year, for my birthday, I hired a band to play a set of cover songs with me as a concert for my friends and family. It was the best night of my life. And that’s when I realized that I need to pursue music more significantly. Life is too short not to explore doing the things that bring you the most joy. I think acting and comedy are such a part of me that they likely influence the music but not in any sort of deliberate way. I’m not playing a part when I walk onstage to perform a concert. If anything, I’m showing people my most genuine self. People may think that they know me from the characters I play or social media clips they see but the truth is, performing music is the one time in life I can let all the masks fade away and just show you the most honest version of me.
Can you tell us about the significance of the title track, “Sad This Christmas,” and how it fits into the overall theme of your three-song holiday EP?
I liked the idea of pairing Sad This Christmas with some classic, happy Christmas songs. The chorus of Sad This Christmas is a direct response to the lyrics in classic Christmas songs like All I Want for Christmas (“all I wanted was you”), Wonderful Christmastime (“simply having a terrible Christmastime”), and many others. I liked the idea of almost responding to the classic songs we hear every year basically saying “yeah, I wanted all of those things to be true, but they haven’t been for me before now, and they likely won’t be again this year”. To me, the song is less about being anti-Christmas and more about acknowledging that Christmas often isn’t as magical as we hoped and wished it would be. Or how we were told it would be through the songs we hear every year.
You’ve mentioned having a dedicated “Christmas room” in your house, showcasing your love for the holiday season. How do you find the balance between your enthusiasm for Christmas and acknowledging the complexities that come with it?
I try and embrace the parts of Christmas that bring me joy. The movies, the music, the nostalgia. I try to separate the fun, happy things from the feelings that can come up. Christmas is something that comes every year which I think can motivate a lot of, “well another year has passed, where am I now,” thought processes. Taking stock of your life and what you have or don’t have. I think it’s possible for many emotions to exist at the same time. I can love the spirit of a holiday and all the magic and joy that comes with it and can also feel wistful about what I wish was different in my life.
Your musical career is a newer venture for you, and it’s been met with a lot of positive reception. What has been the most rewarding aspect of this transition into the music industry for you?
Definitely performing live. I played a set at the Whisky a Go-Go this summer and getting to stand on that stage, that has seen so many iconic musicians have over the years, was an absolute honor and a thrill. Performing live rock music is a unique experience for me. Performing live comedy is wonderful. But you’re on stage with an audience sitting in the dark, laughing at the lines you essentially tell them to. With music, you’re in a constant exchange of energy with the crowd. They are dancing and singing with you. You feed off each other. And that just feels absolutely delicious to me.
In addition to your music career, you have a successful track record in acting and comedy. How do you manage to balance these different creative pursuits, and do they inform each other in any way?
Balance is difficult for me in general. I’m great at biting off more than I can chew! lol, But the WGA and SAG strikes happening in 2023 gave me some downtime to really throw myself into exploring music. I didn’t begin this journey with that in mind, but it was kind of a nice synchronicity timing-wise. I think the real challenge in finding balance is going to come over the next few months once I’m back to work on my TV show Not Dead Yet. My acting career, my podcast, and my music are all full-time pursuits. So, balance is going to be the goal for sure.
Your podcast, “True Crime and Cocktails,” has earned you a People's Choice Podcast Davey award. How does this podcast reflect your passion for storytelling, and how do you see it contributing to your overall body of work?
My cousin Christy Oxborrow and I started the podcast during the pandemic in 2020. It was originally just something to do for fun together, but we received such amazing feedback so quickly that it turned into something far bigger than either of us imagined it would. I think, for me, the podcast is really a love letter to my cousin. She is so smart and funny and that show allows her to shine every week. I’m proud of the work we do on the show and the integrity we bring to what is often viewed as a complicated genre. I also just genuinely enjoy creating something with her every week. People have often asked me what my ultimate goal is, in terms of my career. My answer has always been the same: “creating art with people I love”. And True Crime and Cocktails fits that bill perfectly.
Looking ahead, what are your aspirations for your music career and how do you envision it complementing your existing work in acting and comedy?
I want to continue writing and releasing music. My next goal is working on a full-length album to help support doing live shows next summer. Performing music live is probably the thing that makes me feel most alive so really, I want to be able to do that as much as my schedule will allow. To be honest, I don’t know that it does complement my existing work in acting and comedy. There isn’t an overall “plan” in terms of the things that I do. I just try to follow what brings me the most bliss. And what a true gift that is.