Her sound: Spirit and soul
For fans of: Corinne Bailey Rae, Mayer Hawthorne, Curtis Mayfield Band
Music runs just as deep in Ashley Sankey’s blood as it does her soul. Her mom, Sharon, coached her in jazz, classical, rhythm and blues, and gospel vocal techniques. Her grandmother Katie is a gospel artist, and her dad, William Jr., taught her how to express herself in words. “By seeing their walk with God, I learned how to reach God by expressing my soul and spirit through my music,” she says.
Sankey first started playing drums because she wanted to follow her brother Cameron—who has produced music for gospel artist Micah Stampley and R&B artist Regina Bell. After mastering percussion, she went on to learn the piano and other instruments, but it was the guitar that really touched her
Sankey, 29, has released two albums with Ashley Sankey and Company: Ashley Sankey Presents “Birmingham’s Here,” based on a relationship she was in at the time, and True, a mix she wrote specifically for her audience. Above all, she wants her listeners to feel her sounds deep inside themselves. “It conveys the good and bad that comes out of being on the journey of love, how to overcome and embrace any outcome,” she says. “I have actually had people to come up to me and say that my song has helped them through or that they can feel the soul in my music.”
The Ensley native’s career as a vocalist sweeps much wider in influence too. She’s accompanied the Virginia Samford Theater production of the musical Beehive as a percussionist, sung backup vocals with Belinda Peoples, served as a soloist with the UAB Gospel Choir, and taught a music and songwriting class at Glen Iris Elementary. She’s also served as a mentor at Dannon Project, a motivational speaker, and a music instructor with Girls Rock Birmingham.
See her: At Sixth Avenue Baptist Church for First Sundays 205 “Gospel Brunch” on Aug. 7 at 1:20 p.m.
- Hear more local artists in our full Magic City Mix 2016.
- Eugenius Neutron
- The Burning Peppermints
- Anna Thomical of Zenosyne
- Rashid Qandil
- Jason Slatton
- Ashley Sankey and Company
- Creature Camp
- In Snow
- Lee Shook
- Gary Wheat
- Chris Hendrix