Emotional pain can be incredibly isolating. At the lowest of lows, the human brain has a way of tricking you into believing you’re the only one who has ever gone through anything — like the experience causing you pain. It makes you believe no one could ever relate to you. Even worse, this devastation can lead us to believe that no one wants to hear about what we’re going through. It tells us to put on a brave face and act like nothing is wrong. This is absolutely not true. Our ability to empathize with each other is one of the most beautiful parts of being human. Furthermore, there are many people who will gladly offer you their support if you reach out to them. Singer-songwriter Ashe has discovered this for herself. The LA artist went through difficult experiences during a failing marriage and a subsequent divorce. She has chosen to share all of the emotions from the experience with the world in the form of her just-released EP Moral Of The Story: Chapter 1. Through catchy pop tunes and a willingness to share what she’s gone through, Ashe is creating music that resonates deeply with listeners.

“Tired” is the main feeling Ashe is experiencing when I talk to her last week. She has spent two months touring with Quinn XCII, and like any artist, is starting to feel the wear after weeks on the road. She explains that while she loves the tour and meeting all of her fans after the show, the constant deluge of people can be overwhelming. The exhaustion has not dulled her sense of excitement over her new material, though. Like any of us, there are some last second scrambles, as she jokes about the EP’s promo by saying “I’m also like ‘have I told people?’” With the EP out, people certainly know now.

One might think Ashe would be feeling extra nervous about sharing such personal details of her life and challenges with people. “I think releasing music is always pretty nerve-racking because you’re going up against people’s expectations for you and their projections,” she says. At the same time, she reveals “I’m the most comfortable releasing this EP because it is so personal.” Part of the comfort around Moral Of The Story: Chapter 1‘s release stems from the reception to the title track, the first song she shared from the EP. She describes the piano-driven pop track as “basically putting [her] marriage on blast and going ‘Well, that sucked.’” That fans connected with the track made Ashe feel much better about the possible reception for the EP. She also shares with a sheepish laugh that her divorce was not fully legally finalized when “Moral Of The Story” came out and that no hearing from her ex-husband–who she no longer speaks with–after the track dropped was a relief as well.

Whether you’ve listened to her previous music (her debut EP The Rabbit Hole was released in 2018) or had a chance to speak with her, you’ve come to realize Ashe is generally a bright, cheery person. In conversation she laughs and jokes frequently. Sometimes she does singsongy voices for her jokes that are even funnier. She even says “I intend to come off pretty fun and bubbly and that’s just who I am and I’m a super positive, happy girl all the time.” While all of these things are true, she’s more than just that. Another aspect of Ashe wanting to release a project like Moral Of The Story: Chapter 1 was to avoid being put in just one “box,” as she puts it. To wit, even some of the people closest to her didn’t realize what was going on when her marriage was falling apart. A few nights before we talked she tells me about a conversation she had with her drummer where he told her “I had no idea how bad it was because you made it seem like everything was fine.” To finally be able to share a part of her that wasn’t all sunshine and happiness with both her friends and her fans means a lot to Ashe. “It’s definitely therapeutic to put out really honest shit,” she says.

Just because it’s therapeutic and a goal she’s been working towards doesn’t mean it’s been easy for Ashe. “It was really hard,” she says, and then laughs about how blunt the truth is. She says she has a love/hate relationship with writing in the first place, and the writing for the four-song EP was especially hard on her. That being said, she also found the process incredibly liberating artistically. She explains that on this record she totally removed the thought of what might be popular about her music from her mind and focused solely on writing out what spoke to her from her experiences. “I think it’s important for me to just write what I feel and not focus too much on if people are going to hit the replay button too many times,” she explains. And while she says she doesn’t need the validation from others to know she did the right thing talking about her divorce and exploring her emotions on the EP, it is nice to have the loudest cheers from her set come when she plays “Moral Of The Story.”

What makes Moral Of The Story: Chapter 1 so special is the wide range of emotions explored on it. “Bachelorette” and “Shitty Places, Pretty Faces” do explore the pain and the heartbreak that came from her divorce, but the EP does not drown in misery. There are rays of hope about moving on in “Figured Out” and “Moral Of The Story.” For Ashe, this came from having a little perspective about the situation. She says the writing began a few months after the divorce process started, so having been removed from the immediate rawness of the situation allowed her to explore that range of emotions. There are even moments of humor on the EP, like on the title track when she sings “Talking with my lawyer, she said ‘where’d you find this guy?'” (Ashe chuckles her divorce lawyer actually included an extra four-letter word in that question).

Some of that humor and musical inspiration came from two high-profile friends Ashe worked on the album with. 17-year-old pop phenom Billie Eilish and brother/producer/writing partner FINNEAS both had hands in the making of Moral Of The Story: Chapter 1. Ashe explains FINNEAS has been a close friend for a long time, and was actually one of the first people she told when she first asked for a divorce. In terms of music, her praise for him is quick and effusive. “He’s just a complete savant genius,” she says, recalling times where he would pick up his phone, record a sound he had just come up with, and completely transform it into a hook. Lyrically, Eilish contributed one of the most impactful lines on the EP. “You can think that you’re in love when you’re really just engaged” during the chorus of the title track represents the entire thesis and the emotional peak of the EP. Ashe originally had the back end written as “when you’re really just in pain” before Eilish suggested “engaged” instead. Ashe says she finds the current version much more impactful. Eilish agreed with the emotional impact of it, but — true to form — mostly suggested it because she thought it was “hilarious.” Either way, both siblings played a major role in Ashe’s music and her life during the writing of Moral Of The Story: Chapter 1.

With the EP now out, Ashe mostly hopes that people continue to connect with the music. She says the life experiences and writing of the project has helped her grow and acknowledge some of her own faults, and she has come to terms with the fact that we’re all humans and all go through tough times and mess up. To sum it up, she says “I hope that people relate to that and don’t feel so alone.”

Sharing our pain isn’t easy. Our brains can get in the way and we can worry about what other people might think. But at the end of the day it’s entirely worth it, as our friends can help us heal and our experiences can maybe help make someone’s life just a little bit easier. Sharing her experiences on Moral Of The Story: Chapter 1 has been a rewarding experience for Ashe. She’s grown as a person and released some of the best music of her career. It’s never easy to share, but I think we can all be glad that Ashe did.