Last week, two contestants were eliminated from The Voice season 13 Top 10. Ashland Craft, the feisty country singer from Team Miley Cyrus performed “I Hate Myself for Loving You” by Joan Jett on Monday (Dec 4). On Tuesday, she sang “Tonight I Want to Cry” by Keith Urban in a sing off with fellow Team JHud member Davon Fleming and Team Jennifer Hudson’s Shi’Ann Jones. Ashland and Shi’ann were ultimately eliminated.
Check out what Ashland had to say to reporters last week during a post-elimination conference call.
On working with coach Miley Cyrus. Did they work together to choose songs?: Yes, so the experience working with Miley was obviously extremely amazing. Luckily, she was a very hands-on coach. And so, she was involved in everything, from the song choice to wardrobe. It was just every little thing she wanted to be hands-on with. And that was a great thing to have because that’s what I really wanted out of this experience. And we would kind of collaborate on song choices. She would give me ideas. I would give her ideas. And we would just kind of go back and forth and talk about our likes and dislikes for each song. So it was always more of a collaborative effort than anything. And I thought that was kind of cool that we both got to give our input on the song, and then make a decision from there. So I’m really thankful that she was such an invested and hands-on coach.
On what was going through her mind when she fell into the Bottom 3: So it started kind of dwindling down. And once I kind of came to the realization that I was probably going to be in bottom three, I really just kind of looked back on my experience. And I was satisfied to say that I had really accomplished everything that I wanted to out of this whole thing. And so, I was honestly kind of excited to sing my last chance song, obviously not for the reason that we were meant to sing the song for but just because it was a song that really showed a side of me that nobody has really gotten to see yet on the show. So, I was just kind of excited to put that out there and just lay it all out there for one last shot. But yes, I’m satisfied with my performances on the show. I’m satisfied with how far I’ve made it. I definitely didn’t think I’d make it this far. And so, I couldn’t be more grateful.
How she felt about her song choice “I Hate Myself for Loving You”: I was actually pretty comfortable with the song because when I gig back home, I do a lot of country music, country rock, but I also do a lot of bunch of older rock hits too. So it was kind of right up my alley, even though it wasn’t really country. But the cool thing about it was getting to put my own little spin on it to make it sound more like a country song. And so, as far as changing anything about it, I really can’t think of anything that I would change about it. I feel like I left everything out there, which is what I’ve tried to do every single time. And I was satisfied as well with the performance. So yes, I think it was great.
What’s next for Ashland? For me, my next step, obviously, going home. I have a band back home that I started putting together before I actually started the show. And so, the plan is to go back home with them and start planning out our gigs and our shows. And I hope that songwriting will be a major part of my life for the next year or so. You know, that’s something I really would like to work on. And so, yes, it’s just going to be a bunch of collaborative writing, and playing shows, and trying to make a bigger name for myself than I have already, and hopefully traveling around outside of South Carolina and inside South Carolina. I want to play at my hometown as much as possible. But yes, I just really want to make great music and give people a great show.
Has she done much songwriting? I actually haven’t. That’s my weak point, I would say, as far as the music goes. That’s something that’s kind of struck me as a challenge. So, now that I know a lot more people in the industry that are amazing songwriters, I can count on them to bounce ideas off of. And so, I’m really going to try to do that within the next year or so.
On her struggles with confidence: I wouldn’t really say it was a struggle. It was just a little bit of a challenge because I haven’t competed since I was maybe 14 years old. And so, I’ve always been in an environment where people came to the venue just to see me. And so, being put in a situation where you’re having to win people over in the audience, you know, that have never heard you before, it was a little bit intimidating. So it wasn’t necessarily a struggle. It was just more of a challenge for me to make sure that I was not only singing my best but I was performing my best. And I would say that it’s very obvious to see, throughout the progression of the show, how much I turned into a performer instead of just a singer.
Before she was eliminated, Ashland confessed that she wanted to show America her softer side. Is she disappointed? I do wish that would have happened this week. I will say that. But I think Miley really wanted to make this a bigger performance because I think Janice leaving made her worried, obviously. But I do say I wish I would have gotten the chance to show that. But I definitely wouldn’t take anything back, obviously, like I’m just super proud of my performance from Monday, and it was everything I wanted it to be. And when I first heard that I was doing the song, I automatically had like a picture in my head of how it was going to go. And it went exactly like that. So I wouldn’t change that part of it. So I’m satisfied with my performance. But I do wish I would have gotten the chance to show that softer side of me.
Was she surprised to be in the Bottom 3? I was shocked. Yes. I would say that. I think we all would be because, as a whole, we look at each other as such talented musicians. And honestly, when it comes time for the eliminations, you know, we all are just dumbfounded by who we think would be in the bottom because we have no clue. But, unfortunately, that’s in America’s hands. And we have no control over that, really. So I was a little surprised. But you take everything as it seemed to you and you kind of run with it. And so, I’m just – I’m grateful that I’ve got as much exposure and experience as I did. I came into this competition hoping for a chair turn; I’ve got three. And it was like, “Okay. Maybe I’ll get one performance or one more performance on TV,” but yet, I made it all the way to Top Ten. So, at this point, you know, I’m not complaining at all for how far I’ve gotten in this competition at all.
On being a member of The Voice’s first All Female Team: It was the most, I feel like the most uplifting and encouraging team that could have ever been placed in front of me and beside me. It’s like when we first got the chance to watch our Blind Auditions, we all sat in a room, and we just hugged and cried, because we were all so proud out of each other. And when you think about an all-female team, your mind automatically goes to like cattiness and drama. But there was absolutely none of that, like every single girl on the team was just amazing. And so, it really just enhanced the experience even more. So I would not change it at all. It was cool to be a part of this first all-female team on The Voice. And I was blessed to be a part of it.