Asher Monroe is a full-blown triple threat: singer, songwriter, and actor. For years, Monroe has worked with some of the biggest names in the music industry to create relatable tracks for his fans. This summer was no different with the release of his dynamic new album, Windows of Time.
Windows of Time gives listeners a peek into Monroe’s personal life. He embraces becoming a new father and explores his passion for family, music, and his relationship with Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star, Diana Jenkins. The 8-track album was released in July, but with Asher’s new extended reality (XR) concert, you can live it all over again.
The XR concert provides an intimate opportunity to watch Asher Monroe perform each track off of Windows of Time live. The production uses the same technology as Disney’s “The Mandalorian” while incorporating the same team behind Billie Eilish’s Where Do We Go XR. According to Monroe,
"The XR is an incredibly rewarding process from start to finish. From storyboards to hiring a team of top-notch graphic artists over many months of fine-tuning. I didn’t realize I was building my own video game universe where I could live, interact and perform in. I want to inspire other artists of my generation that, with a wild enough imagination…they can do the same!"
The Windows of Time XR is released in chapters, with the latest being chapter 3: “A Rose Amidst The Thorns.” Monroe’s detailing of a fight between himself and Jenkins is a testament to his love for her, equally beautiful and shattering. You can watch the XR performance here:
In an exclusive interview with Popdust, Asher Monroe talks his writing process, what’s inspiring him right now, and his future plans:
You wrote “A Rose Amidst the Thorns” after an argument with your wife, Diana Jenkins of RHOBH – how does your relationship affect your writing process?
We all have our muse. Some of my songs like, "Unpredictable " and "Hurricane " were all written about her. I would say most artists are strongly influenced by their inner circle and the people that they love. The best material I've written comes from real-life experiences.
You’re releasing your Extended Reality Concert in chapters – how does “A Rose Amidst The Thorns” feel different from the others?
"A Rose Amidst the Thorns" has a more intimate feeling than the others. There's less action and more focus on my interaction with the Rose. I chose an ice cave to represent the harsh winter the Rose has to endure. In a way, it feels like a Broadway piece at times on steroids. Each song has a uniquely different story that caters to different environments. I think the production by Walter Afanaiseiff and the use of extended reality is the thread that keeps each chapter intertwined.
What was different about recording the XR versus a music video?
Everything was different. A lot of times with heavy VFX music videos, there's a lot of time spent in post, whereas shooting with XR most everything is done in pre-production. I got to record my vocals LIVE on the XR studio stage vs 90-100% of music videos are lip synced. Performing with all the visuals I designed with my graphic artist in real-time on a 180-degree LED wall was so much more rewarding than the traditional style shooting of music videos. I think XR is a cutting-edge technology that will be implemented much more by mainstream artists in the future. We haven't even scratched the surface of its capabilities.
Is there anything your fans can expect from the next chapters that they haven’t seen yet?
There will be one more final finale yet to come called, “Story of a Bird.” It's not only my favorite written song on the album but my favorite visual from the XR concert. Not to give too much away, but let's just say I'll be handling a Laner Falcon, fighting off a dragon, and dressed as a night with a touch of Balmain.
You quote lines from early-1900s poetry in “A Rose Amidst the Thorns” – are there certain poets or authors you like to pull from? How do you utilize literature and other elements of life in your music?
There was so much literature at the time I was pulling inspiration for "Windows of Time", but not necessarily one poet in particular. One author I'm reading now who I think is profoundly incredible is Joseph Campbell. Mythology is a subject I'm very much into at the moment. I was never too much into reading until the last few years. It's a wonderful tool for igniting inspiration and expanding one's mind. I can't speak for all artists but the music I make in the moment is pulled from a combination of life experiences that are stored away in my mind and heart that I access like a file but also the current material I ingest using my five senses along with my headspace in that moment. I've noticed that each one of my musical projects regarding the sound and lyrics dramatically evolved each time based on where I was at in my life.
Will there be any more live performances in your future?
Yes, of course. I try to conceal things in the making before they come to fruition. What I'll hint at saying is there's a prestigious charity event coming up where I'll be opening up for a female icon who has sold over 100 million records worldwide...That's all I'll say for now...
What sort of music is inspiring you right now?
Can I be honest in saying ... not much? I listen to current artists every once in a while like Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, or Emeli Sande. In the last 2 years, I haven't had an artist or song truly inspire me. I sometimes feel that I'm in the wrong decade – early on in my career I always felt I was behind the trends in playing catch up. Now that I'm doing my own thing and carving my own sound, it either feels I'm too ahead or that my sound is a bit too mature, but the beauty I'm finding is that like an arrow, each one of my songs are organically finding its intended target. My fanbase is all over the map; wide age gap and every ethnicity under the sun. I love it more this way because it doesn't feel forced.
Do you have any music in the works? Maybe another album?
I always have another album in the works, but I don't know how long it will take to complete. I write music all the time. As long as the inspiration is still coming, there is always going to be new material... just stay tuned!
You can stream Asher Monroe's album, Windows of Time, here!