Asher Monroe Shares How New Song ‘Wanderlust’ Is A ‘Testament To My Life’ & Creative Vision

It’s hard to pin Asher Monroe down – literally. The talented entertainer explains how his love of travel was captured in ‘Wanderlust,’ the last time he took a creative ‘leap,’ and which Elton John songs are criminally underrated.

Would you travel to a new country on a whim? Would you board a plane going anywhere, a passport in one hand and a zest for adventure in the other? Or does the “unknown” seem too intimidating, too risky? While a year of lockdown and travel restrictions may have changed opinions of whether to jet set or not, Asher Monroe is ready to pack his bags and hit the road. The singer-songwriter and actor channeled those feelings into “Wanderlust,” a piano-driven track surging with soul and positivity. The song is “a testament to my life,” Asher tells HollywoodLife, as I wouldn’t be the person I am today without all the fortunate travel opportunities that have taken me far and wide.”

“Traveling for me is an important role in my creativity and inspiration,” he adds. This creativity has been rather prolific for Asher. Earlier in 2021, Asher released Talk With God, and now, he’s prepping the follow-up, Windows Of Time. The latter album promises to show Asher’s evolution and growth. The record paired him with acclaimed producer Walter Afanasieff – who has worked with Mariah Carey and Barbra Streisand  — and the collaboration resulted in an “orchestral, theatrical pop-style of sound,” he says. “It was a dream case scenario to jump in the deep end, bringing all that I have learned from my past and rolling up my sleeves to what I didn’t know, and learning so much in the process.”

Though Asher first made a name for himself via acting, with appearances on Parenthood, Zoey 101, and The Mentalist, his main focus has been music since his solo breakthrough in 2011. Asher has picked up a lot over his travels, collaborating with acts like Sean Kingston and Chris Brown – and he’s earned some high praise from some major stars. Asher counts Sir Elton John as a mentor, and Elton has supported Asher by playing his music on Elton John’s Rocket Hour on Apple Music. In an EXCLUSIVE interview with HollywoodLife, Asher discussed how Elton’s The Lockdown Sessions is similar to Talk With God, the extended reality experience that’s coming in 2022, and the Elton John tracks that he thinks deserve more love.

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HollywoodLife: We’re a few weeks since you’ve put out “Wanderlust,” your third single from your new album. How has the fan reaction been to this song? 

Asher Monroe: It’s been really good! The whole business strategy of releasing songs nowadays is so different, especially as an independent artist. You used to have to set up records weeks, even months before the release, and now it seems everything can be done instantly. ‘Wanderlust’ got added to 90 Spotify playlists, so it seems that people are responding very much to the sound. These days you never know how listeners will react, and that’s why it’s always important to just keep releasing good content.

One might assume that it was inspired by recent events when travel wasn’t an option for most of the world. Did you write this song recently? Or had it been cooking for a while?

I would like to say it was penned during the pandemic, but unfortunately, this song caught a wave right before. I was actually in Croatia when I wrote the lyrics. It’s a testament to my life as I wouldn’t be the person I am today without all the fortunate travel opportunities that have taken me far and wide. Traveling for me is an important role in my creativity and inspiration. I come back to my home base with new understanding, appreciation, and “Wanderlust.”

When was the last time you took a “leap of faith into the unknown?” This could be anything as mundane as trying a new food or something more drastic. 

That’s a great question. I think jumping into the unknown is a way to evolve and grow. As much as it can be scary, it’s rewarding to get on the other side. I would say writing my album Windows of Time is a great example of not being attached to an outcome. I had never worked with a music producer with Walter Afanasieff’s credentials before, and I had never written what came to be an orchestral, theatrical pop-style of sound. I had also never overseen so many facets of the production, i.e., hiring and overseeing all the talent involved, writing 100% of all my lyrics, vocal producing and engineering, and even co-producing alongside Walter. It was a dream case scenario to jump in the deep end, bringing all that I have learned from my past and rolling up my sleeves to what I didn’t know and learning so much in the process.

Earlier in 2021, you released Talk With God, a full-length of unreleased and rare tracks. You’re currently prepping your fourth album, Windows of Time. First off, what was the motivation behind releasing Talk With God since collections like that usually reserved for artists later in their careers? 

I see albums as compilations of an artist’s work. Similar to Elton John’s newly released album The Lockdown Sessions, he had been working with all these different artists he respects and wanted to work with to keep him busy during the pandemic. Elton never intended to release this album, but with an accumulation of so many great songs, he put them all on an album for his fans to admire and hear. For me, it was something similar. I had realized that sonically and lyrically, I was writing and releasing so many singles that had a similar message and sound so I thought, why not put familiar tunes and a few originals my fans had not heard before on an album that would sound cohesive. That’s how Talk With God the album came to be.

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Was there a bit of closure that came with releasing Talk With God

Yes, there was definitely a sense of closure releasing the album (I keep referring it to the album because I also have a single called ‘Talk With God’ on that record.) If you can envision albums as chapters in one’s life, I was in a certain headspace that I may never be in again. I feel like I have grown so much since that time, but it’s fun to listen back as it reminds me of where I was and how far I’ve come. I’ve always been interested in experimenting with new genres, and Talk With God was (please excuse the pun) a “Window of Time.”

I read that you wrote Windows Of Time while spending time in Croatia and that you turned off your phone for three months. Is this a new approach to songwriting, or do you usually have to cut away the distractions in such an extreme manner? 

It is true that I wrote Windows Of Time in Croatia and that I turned off my phone for three months without any distractions. I can’t say unequivocally that this will be the way in which I write every future album, but I can say that this approach with little to no distractions allowed me to immerse myself much deeper than I had ever realized or hoped. Many artists work in different ways, and there is never one approach that works across the board. The writing process is unique to every artist, while one might get their inspiration in a major studio with lots of people in a room, and others might get more inspiration on a hilltop completely remote from the world. It’s the beauty of creativity; you just never know, but it’s up to the artist to discover what works best for them.

Touching back on the “leap of faith,” what would you say is the biggest risk with Windows of Time? Did you write a song with lyrics that went more personal than before? Or do you try something that’s brand new, sonically? 

There’s always risk when you’re not afraid of the outcome, and the reward usually comes long after the hard work is done. With this album, I wasn’t chasing trends, what I currently was hearing on the radio or what my peers thought was “cool” because I was so far off-grid that I  just wanted my voice to shine through. Saying all that, one would say that, of course, there’s risk when you go in a different direction that everybody else is going, but if you flip the coin, that’s what can sometimes make you stand out from the crowd by being special or unique to yourself. At the end of the day, there’s only one you, and it’s our job to hone and find that voice and hopefully, for it to be heard.

Perhaps you answered this with the previous question, but what would you say is your proudest moment on Windows of Time? Was it that ‘leap,’ or was it perhaps a lyric that you worked hard on? Or was it a certain note that took a few tries to lockdown?

Vocally I had some of my best performances to date on this album. I wanted to pull away from that squeaky clean, overly edited pop sound and showcase to the best of my ability that I’m a true singers singer. Sometimes I don’t think my fans really know my true capabilities, and it was fun to highlight some of that on this album. Lyrically too, I don’t even think while writing this album I had it in me that I could write such profound lyrics. It was a true testament to what’s possible if you wholeheartedly believe in yourself and trust the process. Here were days that I didn’t know how I would finish a song, but I just kept showing up to the plate and eventually started hitting home runs. It was the best feeling in the world when I would finish writing a song and start carving out the next one, but it was a process of due diligence and perseverance. I learned so much about myself in the process of making this album.

You have a lovely connection with Elton John. If ever pressed to perform a song of his – be it a drunken karaoke night, or for a tribute album, or perhaps a celebratory concert at Carnegie Hall – what would be your first choice? And which song of his do you think is a bit underrated? 

Now you’re speaking my language [laughs]. Carnegie Hall is still at the top of my bucket list. I would say ‘Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word.’ I think ‘Daniel’ or ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight’ are very underrated.

What is on deck for 2022 since it’s right around the corner? 

Right now, the two biggest things on deck are an upcoming XR (extended reality) immersive showcase of some of the big hits on the album and a TV show in production that I can’t really talk about until a later date. I can’t wait for the world to hear this record in all of its forms.

“Wanderlust” Is Out Now

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