Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Dy aka Ashknuckles or Xiao Xing (pronounced Shao Shing).
Ashley, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I originally started off writing for all the hip hop and R’n’B artists websites for the New Media Department at the former music label MCA Records. I would handle marketing copy, artist bios, HTML fan email blasts, third party promotions, giveaways, etc. I later began to shoot b-roll, behind the scenes segments and interview footage. I became a content producer that happened to wear many hats.
It was a really exciting period when music labels still had budgets. I was very fortunate to have been there during that specific time because there just happened to be a plethora of amazing artists signed to MCA as well as artists signed to various independent labels that MCA interfaced with or accessed. Some of those artists included The Roots, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Talib Kweli, DJ Shadow and more. Some of the independent labels I had access to were Rawkus Records and Quannum Records to name a few. I was granted a great deal of autonomy and trust from the labels so I had the freedom to do a lot of really interesting things.
Has it been a smooth road?
I consider myself to be blessed in many ways. I’m grateful for the God given gifts, talents, and blessings in my life. However, my family life, upbringing, and background was adverse and devastating at times. I’m a survivor of domestic violence and abuse, which stemmed from a parental mental illness within the family that went untreated and undocumented, and later caused many problems for me well into my adult life. All the dark times or “bad things” that have happened to me always had something to do with my family. There was just a lot of drama. The worst parts of it or most of the trauma seems to be past me now as far as I can tell, but I’ve spent a lifetime dealing with recovery, self-care, and healing. However, if I didn’t go through everything I’ve been through, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. The struggle can help your art and character if you learn how to channel it in a healthy way. Healing is a journey.
So, what should we be on the lookout for, what’s next in store for you?
The future looks bright. I was actually thinking of rebranding. I was going to go back to my old moniker “Ashknuckles” for all things music, hip hop, photography, street, and culture related. I would like to merchandise some of my art/images. I was thinking an art show needs to happen as well. The website and store are coming soon.
I was thinking of using the “Xiao Xing Redemption” name/site for all things healing and wellness related that I’ve learned along my journey. I would like to help others who may be stuck, who are experiencing depression or who have suffered from abuse or trauma.
I would love to do everything under one name/identity, but I’ve found that it really is two different lifestyles and audiences. Sometimes there is a bleed and overlap unto each other, but it’s probably best to keep things respective.
Let’s explore some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way. What was the most difficult part of your career so far?
The hardest time in my career would have to be the present moment. I’ve found myself at a crossroads and transitional period. I feel like I’m always in transition, always a work in progress! Life can be challenging no matter where you are on the timeline.
Are there days when you feel like you’ve done everything you wanted to, careerwise – the “I’ve made it” kind of moments?
The wow moments of my life and career have definitely been working with artists like Mary J. Blige and The Roots. I grew up listening to them, admiring them, watching them. Prior to my label experience, I had my own deep roots in the OC and LA hip hop and underground scenes. I pretty much grew up in the clubs. Many of the heads that were around back then are successful now, and it’s great to see. I don’t consider myself to have quite “made it” yet, but I know that for what I’ve been through in life as far as challenges, and to also be someone that was around “in the beginning” or in “the early years” of OC and LA hiphop, that in itself is relevant. There’s something to be said about longevity, respect and paid dues…and being a woman!
- Typically $100/hr for documenting
- Day Rate $500. (6-8 hrs or more)
- “1, 2 & 3 Look” Packages available ranging from $150 +
- Image & Style Consulting available
- Website: www.xiaoxingredemption.com
- Phone: 2132587800
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @xiaoxing1
- Facebook: Xiao Xing Lee
MY BIO PHOTO: Photographer: Daniel Lupercio
My Photo/Work Images:
1. (model on purple car) – Model: Susannah Jordan | MUA: Kerryn Killian | Photo/Style: Ashley Dy
2.(model walking on tires) – Model: Desiree Williams | MUA: Kerryn Killian | Photo/Style: Ashley Dy
3. (model smelling flower) – Model: Lia Yun | Photo/style: Ashley Dy
4. (model with tree & lights) – Model: Laura Winston | Photo/style: Ashley Dy
5. Artist/singer Yeofi Andoh from A Race of Angels
6. The Internet
7. Alice Smith at the Red Bull Sound Select presented by ArtDontSleep
8. Product photography – Sugar skull rings styled and photographed by Ashley Dy