Old chichés like “good things are worth the wait” are just that: clichés; that is, until they’re proven to be true.
Nearly a decade passed between Ashley Ryan writing “Hush Little Baby” before it was released into the world. On release day, only a few hours passed before the song found itself in the top 30 on the iTunes country chart. And now, just shy of a month removed from the song’s release, more than one million people have streamed and listened to Ryan’s song baby that she wrote in her bedroom years prior.
We caught up with Ryan to talk all about “Hush Little Baby,” going viral on TikTok, new music and more!
Pro Country: Your last two singles, “Hillbilly” and “Reno,” have quickly become your top-streamed singles to date. As your first two single releases in a few years, how much did you enjoy the response to those songs and continuing the momentum you earned with your first two singles?
Ashley Ryan: “Hillbilly” and “Reno” are two songs that will always mean so much to me. Every song baby does! When I released my first two singles, “Reload” and “Hey Girl,” I was new to Nashville and was still discovering what my “sound” was. I knew I loved fiddle, steel and a whole lot of sass, so I wanted to keep that momentum going with “Hillbilly” and “Reno.” I wouldn’t say my style has drastically changed since my first two singles, but rather matured and molded into something more defined. It’s always so fun creating music for the world to hear. And all of my songs, new and old, share a piece of me with anyone who listens. That will always be an amazing feeling! I cannot wait to keep that momentum going with all the new music I have planned to release this year!
PC: You’ve been teasing your newest single, “Hush Little Baby,” on social media for about six months, and have mentioned that it’s both a crowd favorite and one of your personal favorites. As you prepared to share the song, how much were you looking forward to release day and finally being able to allow your fans the chance to hear the studio version?
AR: “Hush Little Baby” is a song I wrote when I was 16, so to say that I was excited to release it all these years later is an understatement! I actually did not plan on cutting it myself. Initially, I tried to pitch it to other artists, but it was always shot down. I decided to tease it a bit on social media to see if it would reach anyone. To my surprise, it did really well on social media, so I decided to get it fully produced and release it myself! The 16 year-old me would cry if she knew that one day people would love her song and know all the lyrics! I am so grateful to everyone singing, reposting and sharing the song with their friends and family. It will always be one of the most important and special songs to me, because I wrote it when I was totally heartbroken, so to see so many people connect with it on an emotional level means the absolute world to me!
PC: “Hush Little Baby” went viral on TikTok several times and has earned millions of views across multiple videos. When did you know that the song might be special, and what was it like to see the song perform so well on TikTok so consistently?
AR: TikTok is a wild thing! I was shocked at how well the first video I posted did. I didn’t want to lose the momentum, so I just kept posting and tried to be creative with it, and with God’s help, it continued to find success! The crazy thing about it all is that I started the year off with around 25,000 followers. The day before the new year, I made a vision board in my room and wrote down multiple goals that I wanted to achieve throughout this year. I prayed over them and asked God that if it was in His will, He’d guide me and put His right hand on my music career. The first goal I wrote down was to gain 100k followers on TikTok. The second goal was to have a viral video and get 1one million views. Within three weeks, I was able to check off both of those boxes. But God is good. He blessed me with quadruple the amount of views and almost double the amount of followers I prayed for. I actually had a moment when I got home, looked at my board and just cried tears of joy. When you work so hard and your work is realized by other people, it is so rewarding and validating. I say all this with such a grateful heart. All the glory goes to God, and I am also so thankful for each and every person for all their support and kindness towards me and my song baby! I won’t say what the rest of my goals are for this year, but hopefully I’ll be able to check off some more boxes!
PC: You wrote “Hush Little Baby” yourself. Can you take us in the room and tell us how the song came together?
AR: I was going through a really hard time when I wrote “Hush Little Baby.” I was 16, freshly heartbroken and struggling with mental health. I had no other place to release that emotion than sitting in my room with my guitar. I used that pain I was in to write the story of a very protective mom and her little girl. I’m not really sure where the storyline came from, but the song essentially wrote itself. I’m just happy that so many people can find comfort in it. I’ve had a lot of domestic violence survivors share their story with me, and when they tell me that my song gives them a sense of power and peace, it brings tears to my eyes. I never imagined it would touch people the way it does. It’s a very special feeling that I don’t take for granted.
PC: On release day, “Hush Little Baby” landed at number 26 on the iTunes country singles chart and at number 105 on their all-genre singles chart. What was it like for you to see your name and a song you solo-wrote amongst some of the biggest names in both the country and all-genre spaces?
AR: I definitely cried! [laughs]. I was so excited. I literally blared it though my speakers in my room and danced on my bed. I genuinely did not think it would land on the iTunes Charts at all, especially with some of my favorite artists. All I can say is that it meant so much to see and I hope it doesn’t stop there!
PC: You recently released a music video for “Hush Little Baby.” How much did you enjoy filming the video and being able to add that dimension to the song?
AR: I have always loved acting. When I was a little girl, my dream was to write movies, direct them and act in them. Of course as I got older, I chose the musical path. The best thing about being an artist for me is that those two worlds collide. I was so excited to get with my director, Doltyn Snedden, and create this storyline for the music video. I wanted the video to be like a short movie. With the help of so many talented people, we made the story come to life and I got to have fun acting as a mama bear! It was such a fun day of shooting the video and I’m so happy it is finally out for everyone to enjoy!
PC: “Hush Little Baby” was added to Spotify’s New Music Friday: Country curated playlist on release day. How encouraging is it getting playlisted on the day of a song’s release and get that push right out of the gate?
AR: That felt amazing! I’ve never been added to a playlist like that before, so it was very encouraging that people were listening to it and liking what they heard. Since then, “Hush Little Baby” got added to the Fresh Finds Country playlist, which is surreal! I’m just so thankful for all the success and very excited for what’s to come with the song and the new music I have on the way.
PC: The last time we talked, you mentioned that you had plenty of new music on the horizon. What information, if any, can you give about any forthcoming releases? What can listeners expect to hear?
AR: This year is definitely gonna be the year for a lot of new content. I don’t want to give away too much, but I have a set of songs I’m gearing to put out after “Hush Little Baby,” and I am going back into the studio in March to record even more music! My next single, “Too Far Gone,” is a really upbeat, sassy sing-along song. I’m really pumped for everyone to hear it!!
PC: What do you have planned for 2023?
AR: I am finally in a place where I really know my sound and style and I am putting out my favorite songs I’ve ever written with the help of my amazingly talented co-writers. And that’s where it all starts: with a great song. With that, I do have some exciting news to share, but that will have to wait for now! Stay tuned!
*”Hush Little Baby” is featured on The Best of Pro Country playlist!*
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