Country megastar Carrie Underwood drew a major crowd for the return of the Stagecoach country music festival. The girl power theme was evident in the lineup for the festival this year with rising stars like Lainey Wilson, Lindsay Ell, and girl group Walker County taking the stage each day. And to close it all out DJ Bad Ash (Ashlee Willis) came back to the Honky Tonk tent by popular demand on Sunday night. After making festival history as the first female country DJ to headline at Stagecoach the talented DJ and singer has continued to break down barriers in the country music space with her unique blend of pop, EDM, and country music.
Willis told us, “I can’t wait to be back and feel the energy from the crowd!”
After a 3 year break from live music, the return of festival season has the L.A.-based DJ busier than ever. During the pandemic, Willis took some time to focus on her career as a singer/songwriter and released an original song under her own name called “Momma I know You Tried”. She also got engaged and added to her family by welcoming a brand new baby during the Covid shutdowns.
“This is the first trip I’ve had where I’ve gotten a full night’s sleep since becoming a mom so it’s like a vacation!” joked the singer.
With all these changes the artist shared she feels like the pieces of her life and career are finally all coming together for the first time saying, “I have a pop side to me, and EDM side, and of course the country and now that I’m releasing original music and have become a mom, I feel like everything is fitting together. It’s still me but it’s a new version.”
Becoming a mom herself as well as taking time to release some of her own music helped Willis to reflect on her path as a trailblazing DJ.
She explained, “When I first got to L.A. 15 years ago I was the only female country DJ mixing EDM, pop, and all these different things so that was how I made a name for myself.”
She has since gone on to open for artists like Gwen Stefani, Adam Levine and more as well as singing at major events such as the Grammy’s, the CMAs and more. As the country genre has seen more popularity with crossovers in recent years, songs like “Old Town Road”, a collaboration between Billy Ray Cyrus and Lil Nash X, have been topping the charts. Willis’s demand has grown even more as well. With her unique perspective on these crossovers that span genres, we decided to ask who her dream collaboration would be with.
Willis shared saying, “There are so many! Obviously, Maren Morris is amazing. I’d love to do a duet with a male country artist like Luke Bryan or Jason Aldean and I’d love to do any kind of collab with Breland, he’s so talented! On the EDM side, I’d love to have Diplo do a remix of one of my original songs since he’s doing country stuff now.”
Her performance at Stagecoach was a huge success with the crowd dancing to her set as well as her new song all night long. Even though the weekend is over, the artist told us it’s just the beginning of the new Ashlee. She is planning to continue releasing her own music and already has a booked schedule filled with DJ gigs throughout the summer.