'I never wanted to be a singer' says Andrew Ashong, voice behind one of 2013's iconic club hit records 'Flowers'.
Released on Theo Parrish's Sound Signature the 9-minute cut was a summer anthem, played by DJs as diverse as Tim Sweeny, Floating Points and Benji B. Gilles Peterson listeners voted it the 'Track of The Year' at the Worldwide Awards.
All of which came as a surprise to studio perfectionist Andrew. Growing up in Forest Hill with Ghanian/English parents, he listened to disco, funk and soul, amassing a huge vinyl collection initially from charity shops, supplemented by his older brothers Roy Ayers, Herbie Hancock and choice Talking Loud Records collection.
At 16 he was playing out the vinyl collection, everywhere from the Blue Note on Hoxton Sq in '96, to house parties right through to Rhythm Section in Peckham in 2013. But creating those big budget studio sounds at home didn't seem realistic. Let alone going onstage to sing.
While he'd record at home, fascinated by the chords to Al Green's 'Let's Stay Together', he did all sorts of jobs as well as DJing. Building work, fixing computers, driving and working in a caf'.
He had no intention of releasing his musical sketches. Until, Theo Parrish drifted into his orbit as a friend. He played him some unfinished bars of a song and Theo demanded that they sit down that minute and arrange a version he could play out at Plastic People that night. 'Flowers' became a stable of Theo's DJ sets worldwide. And went on to be one of the definitive club records of summer 2013. 'That blew away my assumptions. That a record we made in my basement was being played in Japan'.
Unwittingly they had made a modern day version of Theo's much loved 'Ugly' soul edits, innovating as they did. It needed to be mastered onto vinyl before Andrew was happy, but Theo knew the record had the essential elements of their favourites; 'the funk, simplicity, drive, honesty gained from heartfelt experience'.
But 'Flowers' was just the start for this reluctant star. The 'Special' EP sees him release 3 more songs of eagerly awaited soul music, equally heaven-sent. And plenty more eyes and ears are following now.
'Special' EP out 27th January 2014
1. Special 2. Never Dreamed 3. Love The Way
Which Way Records