Images courtesy of Cowgirl Clue.
Listening to Cowgirl Clue often feels as though you have ripped open a Barbie car, and out of which poured pink glitter-covered serenading fairies wearing thigh high white leather boots. Each song transports you into a lyrical trip which Alice in Wonderland herself might find hard to get out of. The mastermind behind Cowgirl Clue is self-identifying genie Ashley Rose Calhoun, and I caught up with her after the release of her new video for “Confessions of a Genie.”
If you could leave a trail of clues, where would they end up?
A portable GENIE lamp, of course.
Your new video for “Confessions of a Genie” was reminiscent to 90s suburban teen America, what made you want to return that era?
“Confessions of a Genie” displays a softer side of COWGIRL CLUE through the rhythm and the tones of the track. I wanted to make a song that acknowledged R&B, which became more mainstream in the late 80s/90s. I suppose the video took some influence to that as well, but my main influence for the video was the intro to Rocket Power.
The video portrays a woman dominating the suburban streets with a posse of skateboarders and followers behind her. It’s a pre teen fantasy played out: was this what growing up was like for you? Or were you the girl in braces sitting at home reading Harry Potter hoping the fantasy would play out?
I wanted the video to represent life moving and people coming in and out of each other’s lives. My character in the video is narrating the story of an attempt at escapism with our emotions by having fun and playing with our friends. At the end of the day we go back into our genie lamp alone to re-center. Growing up, I think we all experience this to some degree.
You have evolved from “Wu Wu” to “Cowgirl Clue” recently, whats changed with your creative output during this transition?
The creative output is actually the same. My skills are developing so the music is evolving. However the name change does not distinguish a new project or band in any way. The project and everything I am currently doing with it is just simply growing. I changed my name from Wu-Wu because it was too difficult for casual pronunciation and for people to find the music with that alias. COWGIRL CLUE rhymes with Wu-Wu so I thought the transition would be seamless.. ooOoopppps!
You’re originally from Texas, what elements of the state have you kept in your music?
Austin is a major platform for music. I was fortunate to be exposed to so much variety and jump into it when I was so young. It made my perception infinite and open to most music. I know what I like versus what I don’t like. I want to keep that perception limitless in my own music. I also wanted to represent it southern culture through my name, COWGIRL CLUE because it felt more like me.
If your music was a colour, I feel like it would be baby pink covered in glitter, is there a hidden darkness we are missing?
My music is any color in the form of high gloss.
When constructing a song what is the first instrument you think of?
I think about every element and then need to sort my thoughts typically. I think about the bass often, bass is the heart beat of a song. But to construct a track, I usually stick to drum loops first to create the spine of a super cool hit!
Do you always tell the truth in your songs? Is there an example of a track where you lie?
It wouldn’t be any fun if I didn’t tell secrets that are half true and half false.
Do you feel like your songs get inextricably attached with ‘feminist’ issues? With the US suffering some major hits recently in respect to women’s rights, is this something you want to discuss in your songs?
I don’t mind how anyone wants to interpret the music. Feminism, for me is about doing what you want despite what anyone else tells you and, after all, I am a genie. I want my songs to uplift people and inspire women. No matter what they/we are going through, I want to make music that lets people connect through dancing or big smiles. Music is the best language. It’s healing!
You have a very distinct sense of style – what was the most bizarre/wonderful outfit you’ve worn on stage recently?
At my last concert I wore a bubblegum pink Hazmat suit.
Are you planning on releasing an album soon?
Totally! I am currently writing new material to release a debut album next year. I have some demos put together right now. I am so excited to show y’all.