"Home is like a hypnotic slumber; in a bed slept in so often we forget the springs are made of barbs - and they know exactly where to stab you so that you never leave home forgetting your scars." - Calithornia by
Ashley Zarah is an Iranian-American singer/songwriter and Dark-Pop performer hailing from Los Angeles, CA. After recognizing the emotional disconnect she and others were facing with contemporary pop music, she decided to approach the genre through a lens that is often difficult to bare: reality. Merging millennial pain with an enticing pop soundscape, she is convincing the pop audience to feel something real again, the way she felt during the emo wave in the early 2000s.
"I feel like fans in other genres get to cathartically rage about heavier topics such as suicide, social anxiety, self-deprecation and identity; and their audiences are healthier because of that – they're able to expel this tension from their psyches. That’s what’s so therapeutic about music. Pop tends to be about glamor, happiness, attraction, fun – but you can have fun and still be honest, and that’s why people really resonate with all this."
(Ashley Zarah & the Boston Voyager)
As a young kid who struggled finding a group and culture to identify with, Zarah decided to invent a space of her own where all the beautifully complex were welcome; hence, the home of Dark-Pop. Its walls are riddled with lyrics and melodies that local scenes have called "captivating and chillingly astute;" each show an "overwhelmingly emotional experience from start to finish." Needless to say, Zarah finds her fanbase growing each day.
Despite stemming from a background of non-musicians, there was no shortage of music in the house. She was raised on artists ranging from Pink Floyd, Madonna, and Natalie Cole to Iranian stars such as Sima Bina, Dariush, and Haydeh. Scouting on her own, she would discover even more eclectic inspirations like Christina Aguilera, Linkin Park, The All-American Rejects, Justin Nozuka, and LIGHTS; all whom inspired her to pick up instruments and gear to perform the songs we hear today.
While on scholarship at the highly prestigious art institution, Berklee College of Music, she revealed herself to be both a prolific writer and expressive vocalist but truly hooked viewers with her insight and relatability.
Her versatility and range continues to expand and evolve. With features in world-renowned editorials (The Hype Magazine, NPR's Sound Opinions, GirlTalk HQ, Sarah's Scoop, BuzzMusic LA, Jejune Magazine etc.), acclaim from global artists, collaborations in film, and more - the world is beginning to catch on.
Zarah's highly anticipated debut album, the Better Mess - LP is out now; leading with fan-favorite, "My Boyfriend," as its first single and followed by an impactful music video for her cinematic opening track, "Fakin' It."
Tribe leader for the truth seeker, student and storyteller; we are excited to see Ashley Zarah explore the idea that life is a startling chapter book: "it will always be bad, and it will always get better. A story that exciting is worth holding onto."