Ashley Kutcher – One Eighty – Track by Track
Ashley Kutcher unveils her long-anticipated debut EP One Eighty & pens an exclusive track-by-track for 1883 Magazine.
When we last spoke with singer-songwriter Ashley Kutcher earlier this year, she exclaimed that she couldn’t wait to share what songs she would select for her debut EP. Finally, that moment has come with the release of One Eighty, an 8-track EP that charts the rising artist’s experiences in love, longing, and loss. Known for her utterly vulnerable and captivating storytelling, fans that discovered Kutcher from her catchy TikToks will fall further in love with her work on One Eighty as she weaves together an entire relationship throughout the body of work.
To mark the release of Ashley Kutcher’s debut EP, 1883 asked her if she would give us a bit more insight into the creation of the EP, the inspiration behind each song, and break down One Eighty track by track (and luckily for us, she agreed!)
Love You From a Distance
I can say with no doubt that “Love You From A Distance” changed the course of my life forever. For me, the song is a lot about accepting emotions for what they are. You’re still allowed to feel love for someone that cannot physically be in the same place as you, especially if they’re someone you feel has impacted your life significantly and for the better. The song is about the process of heartbreak and the personal growth that comes from it. I wrote “Love You From A Distance” completely alone on my bathroom floor, and the lyrics came really easily which tends to be a promising sign. After putting the song out, I saw how people could resonate so deeply with my lyrics, and I knew that I wanted to keep writing and pursue music for real. Creating this song gave me a huge boost in confidence, and the fan response to it has been endlessly inspiring; I owe so much to it.
The Night You Left
“The Night You Left” is my tribute of sorts to “Love You From A Distance.” After finishing “The Night You Left,” it felt like the two songs shared a certain (very sad) energy, or maybe I felt this connection just because of how much they both mean to me. Either way, because of this natural pairing I felt, I decided to release “The Night You Left” exactly one year after “Love You From A Distance.” The process of writing started with a concept rather than any specific lyrics. I knew I wanted to write about the idea of how you might remember the moment someone left you better than you can remember them coming into your life in the first place. It felt very vulnerable to articulate this for the first time, but I knew that writing it would be extremely healing. I felt like the song would comfort fans listening too, and I hoped that it would make them feel less alone if they were going through something like I was.
I wrote the song with Annika Bennett on a trip to LA. Annika is a tremendously talented writer, and since she’s also a great friend of mine, I felt immediately comfortable writing about a topic so personal to me. I just started describing the night my ex left me in as much detail as I could remember, and the song flowed from there. The imagery in this song feels so vivid to me because they are real images taken straight from my memory. Everything about this song is so dear to me, from the process of writing it to the lyrics themselves.
Writing “Fake Bitches” was such an empowering release for me. I was reflecting on changing careers from nursing to music, and all of the complicated emotions that naturally went along with that moment of dramatic change. At the time, I couldn’t help but notice I was being met with some negativity about my shift in career from people who claimed to be my friends. Even though I have an amazing support system and true friends, I found these little comments and backhanded compliments getting to me at times. I decided the best way I could process these judgements was to write them down, and explain how they made me feel.
This song really reminds me that I’m so lucky to have my best friends in my life. Their opinions will always mean so much more to me than the noise of what other people might have to say, and I hope that message is translated to my listeners too! With this song I feel that I was able to access a super fun, carefree side of myself which always feels exciting.
Favorite What If
When I think of “Favorite What If,” I think a lot about reflection and nostalgia. Nostalgia can be very painful, even if the memories you’re thinking about are happy. I tried to capture this bittersweet idea in the song, and in the old fashioned 8mm film music video that goes with it. I wrote the song during quarantine over zoom, so I think I was feeling especially nostalgic too because of that. It feels so natural to wonder if things could have ended up differently with someone you care about, and I decided to let myself go down that path while writing this song. The concept felt so universal to me, of having this ‘what if’ person. Someone who your relationship to may have felt complex and hard to categorize, or maybe even immature and full of mistakes. In the song I try to emphasize how much can be learned from young love, even if you don’t end up with that person.
When You’re Not Okay
I have the most complicated relationship to “When You’re Not Okay” of all the songs on the EP, probably because I wrote it from two different perspectives. I was thinking about how I felt used by somebody who only reached out to me when they needed something from me. At the same time, I realized I had been at fault in the past, being the person who called someone only when I wasn’t okay. Seeing both sides of this was super enlightening for me. When people treat you like that, you start to feel exhausted. Even if you want to let them in, you start to realize that you have to protect yourself and your mental health by not giving in. In terms of the sound of the song, I love how the sound of the guitar turned out on this one, it’s one of my favourite parts of the song.
If I Could
In a really broad sense, “If I Could” reminds me of the way music can feel so universal and impactful but specific at the same time. A song can mean something different to each person listening, including the writer themselves. The meaning can even change over time. This song was written about a young person suffering from cancer. It’s about the literal unfixable struggle of wishing you could take someone’s pain away. It’s about watching someone be so strong, and admiring them so much, but ultimately not being able to feel exactly what they’re feeling. A lot of the song is trying to get this message of support across in the most genuine way that I felt I could. I love how the song’s instrumental builds at the end; it really holds the passion I felt while writing it.
“Strangers” is all about embracing spontaneity and messiness. Actually, it’s the chapter that comes directly after “The Night You Left.” I say “I never want to love again” in that song, and that’s the mindset that’s explored in “Strangers.” I didn’t want to get to know anyone, or let anyone in, I just wanted a break from the brutal heartbreak I had gone through. I didn’t want to overanalyze or overthink at the time, but this phase turned out to be pretty complicated for me. It was fun, but really isolating at times. The song is super uptempo and fun to dance to, and sort of represents those carefree and light feelings I was trying to embrace at the time. The song represents another stage in how I was healing. It felt really good to have those emotions translated into music.
Care Enough For Two
“Care Enough For Two” is probably the most candid, confessional and raw I feel on the EP. I wrote the song about feeling betrayed by someone that you trusted for a long time. Being able to say the words flat out, “you’re toxic,” addressing the person I wrote the song about, felt pretty amazing and cathartic. This song came from just me in my room, so I decided to keep it that way on the EP; it’s just me and a guitar. It felt extremely honest to produce it this way, and I think as a result the lyrics are extra highlighted.
I wanted to feel in control of the situation I was in, and try to fix it by extending myself more than I should have. I felt torn down again and again by someone, but still would do everything I could to make things feel okay. By the end of the song, I realize how unhealthy and damaging to yourself it is to do that, and I begin to let this person go. I am simultaneously so surprised by the amount of people that have already connected to the song, and so grateful for it.
One Eighty, the debut EP by Ashley Kutcher, is out now.