Ashia Bello is and up and coming gospel star, known for her soul-stirring vocals, musicianship and as part of the celebrated gospel act, Anthony Brown and Group Therapy. Bello is a ray of hope, who radiates positive vibes and love everywhere she goes. This mother of two, praise and worship leader and soon to be solo act, is what the radio and the world is looking for.
Here’s my in-depth interview with Ashia:
Kiel: Tell us about Ashia, some things you’d like our readers to know about your work in the industry, anything personal we learn about you?
Ashia: So, I’m a mother of two from my marriage. I have a boy who’s four and a daughter who’s five, and that takes up a lot of my time. I’m also a musician for my local church, where I lead praise and worship, every Sunday. So, that’s kind of my life. Most of my time is dedicated to being a mom or playing at church. So that’s how I maneuver, (laughingly), throughout the week.
Kiel: How did you get started in music?
Ashia: I basically got started, when I was about eight years old, playing piano by ear, in church. My grandmother was a pastor, and after every service, I would try to sit down and pick out all of the songs we sang (on the piano), and learn how to play them. As I got older I started singing background for different artist, and was to kind of just branch out that way. I think my first artist, that I sang background with, that was a major artist was Jeff Majors. That was like my first opportunity to sing background, for a major artist. And it just kind of went from there.
Kiel: So, you have a boy that four and a girl that’s five and they come everywhere with you?
Kiel: And where’s your church located?
Ashia: It’s located in upper Marlboro. The name of it is Judith Temple, AME Zion Church.
Kiel: How did you become a part of Anthony Brown and Group Therapy?
Ashia: That’s a little bit of an interesting story, because I want to say I’ve been with the group, I wanna say for about nine years; almost ten years. I met everybody when I was in college. The group itself was formed at Morgan State University. Anthony is from Baltimore, and most of the group members started out at Morgan. I probably came in, maybe the year after everybody left and I was a freshman at Morgan, and Anthony had come there to work on “The Black Nativity,” which I was a part of at the time, and I’m good friends with his cousin. I came to one of their rehearsals, and he was like, “hey, sing this part for me.” And I was like, ‘okay!’ And the rest is history.
It’s a cool story, because I feel like, it was a “meant to be’ type of thing. Some situations were just for you to be a part of, and I feel like that when it comes to Group Therapy. I always felt like I was meant to be a part of the group. I’m really blessed and honored to experience all that I’ve experienced with them. It’s been an awesome journey.
Kiel: What has that experience been like for you, for instance, all the awards, like the Grammy and Billboard awards and other accolades?
Ashia: Yeah, so we were fortunate enough to receive a Billboard award for the song “Worth”, which was so awesome, because we all got our own little plaques. We were also nominated for a Grammy, but didn’t snag that one, but we were nominated for 10 Stellar awards and we got all 10, which I think is the most awards received, in the history of the Stellar, at one time. And I think we may have even more than that, because a couple weeks prior to that, we received, like three Stellar Awards. So, it’s been cool. I’ve gotten to do a lot of traveling, and the awards are great, as well. Being able to go to all those shows and be a part of the all the ceremonies, it’s been an awesome, awesome experience. Anthony, he’s really, really amazing at making us a part of the vision and a part of the dream. He prides himself on taking us everywhere he goes. So, wherever Anthony is, Group Therapy is there, and that’s been great, because a lot of artist won’t do that, you know, for the people that work with them or sing with them. He goes above and beyond for Group Therapy, and that’s been so great and really refreshing just to see in the industry in general, an artist who really does care for his people. There’s been times where he’s paid for our hotel rooms out of his pocket, and he really cares about the vision and ministry of it all, which we pride ourselves on.
And we’ve traveled to places like Norway, which was an incredible experience. We spent about four days there, singing and ministering. It’s so fun, every weekend, to just wake up and get on a plane, living your dream. It’s been amazing.
Kiel: What’s coming up next for the group?
Ashia: We released a new album released 3 weeks ago called “A Long Way from Sunday.” We also did an album release party at the Warner Theater (Erie, PA) which was sold out. That was amazing. We’re like at the promotional stages of that, and doing a lot of traveling, and it’s just getting started. And the album is incredible…I don’t know if I can say that, because I’m in the group (laugh). But without being biased, the album is just an incredible body of work. We talk about it all the time, when you’re in the process of recording and the artist is usually like, ‘okay, it’s coming together…’ but when the final product comes out and you’re able to hear how everything kind of just merges together it’s incredible, and it’s already rated the #1 on billboard Gospel/Christian album in the country.
Kiel: What are you working on outside of the group?
Ashia: I am currently working on my first solo project. So that’s been a journey, in and of itself, as well. You know with being a full-time mom, the church and everything else going on, it sometimes be a bit challenging, but it’s been so great, to get in there and write my own songs and the journey of creating my own project. I’m actually in the studio right now, working and writing. I’m working with local producers in the area, though some are up and coming they are all amazing. I can’t give you all the details, yet, but it’s very exciting. Because I feel my music and my sound-with how everything is in the world right now-we need positivity, and so I hope I can help bring a little love and light, which is the premise, and I hope that’s what you feel when you hear it. I believe God has given me a sound and a voice, that I hope will bring that sort of message to the world. Because we need it right now, and people need to be reminded that it’s ok to love one another, and it’s okay to be positive.
Kiel: So, when can we expect to hear your music?
Ashia: No release date, yet, but we’re hoping end of the year or beginning of the year.
Kiel: Are you with a label or independent?
Ashia: It’s going to be produced totally independently. Everything that comes out, everything that’s on the album, I will have done it all on my own.
Kiel: So, should we expect a solo from you?
Ashia: You never know (laughs). I have a featured solo, “Never Alone” on the new group album (available now on iTunes). So sure, anything is possible.
Kiel: Ashia thanks so much this opportunity to speak with you, it was truly a pleasure, for me!!!
Ashia: Thank you for considering me. I’m very, very excited and I can’t wait to tell people all about it. I’m super-humbled, because I’m just starting out, and not a lot of people would not give opportunities to those who are just starting out, so I’m so thankful for that. I truly it’s going to be the start of something great and going to be amazing. I really appreciate you guys for giving me this opportunity to talk about my endeavors and what I have going on, and to talk about little old me.
Kiel: Where can our readers find you on social media?
Ashia: Sure. They can find me on Instagram at @ashiabmusic, and on Facebook.com/ashiabello.
And for you Atlanta readers, Ashia thanks you for coming out to support Group Therapy and Anthony Brown. The group performed on September 23rd at The Dream Center church in Atlanta. Many came out in great numbers and left empowered!