“I’m not sure if I’m in love, but it feels like freedom”: Ashe Talks Independence, Empowerment, & Her Own Liberation With “Running Out of Time”

Running Out of Time - Ashe
Running Out of Time - Ashe
Returning after more than a year out of the spotlight, alt-pop artist Ashe catches up with Atwood Magazine for a candid conversation about independence, empowerment, and liberation, her anthemic new single “Running Out of Time,” and her upcoming third album, ‘Willson’!
Stream: “Running Out of Time” – Ashe




It’s been well over a year since the world last heard from Ashe.

How better to stage her return than by (metaphorically) kicking down the door? The alt-pop singer/songwriter’s first release of 2024 is a stunningly cinematic barnstormer: A spirited, high-energy anthem of empowerment and independence, change and acceptance; of finding your voice and knowing your true worth, of running headfirst into tomorrow and never looking back. Urgent, impassioned, and aching all at once, “Running Out of Time” sees Ashe setting herself free as she soars back into the spotlight, ready to make the most of every moment.

It’s an undeniably inspiring, invigorating song, and one that will forever serve as a reminder to Ashe herself of how far she’s come.

Running Out of Time - Ashe
Running Out of Time – Ashe
I woke up in sheets that were laced
with the scent of a stranger

Poured her a coffee,
and sat on the porch in the back

I looked in the mirror,
everything changes sooner or later
So, I cut my hair,
even though I knew better than that

Left my bags in California,
and never looked back…

Independently released June 28, 2024, “Running Out of Time” is a liberating, intimate, and unfiltered declaration. Ashe’s first song since 2022’s acclaimed sophomore album Rae sees the American singer/songwriter (and former Atwood Editor’s Pick) – née Ashlyn Rae Willson – ostensibly reintroducing herself, in a way, with a bold eruption of cathartic charisma and dramatic flare. The track serves as the lead single off Ashe’s forthcoming third album Willson, a deeply candid record that notably bears her last name.

Set to release September 6, the upcoming LP is, per the artist herself, a “finding yourself, coming-of-age” record filled with moments of vulnerability and melodrama, introspection and self-discovery. It’s about “coming back to yourself after losing yourself and understanding that it’s all part of the human experience.” Some songs find Ashe unpacking, wrestling with, and working through her depression head-on, whereas “Running Out of Time” is one of the album’s more lighthearted and uplifting tracks – a heart-on-sleeve upheaval dressed in Born to Run-era, red headband Springsteen garb.

Autobiographical (and unapologetic about it), Ashe sings her heart out as she captures a special part of her own redemption arc – a moment of reclamation, assertion, freedom, and release.

And I said
“I’ve got to go see
’bout a guy in Tennessee

And I don’t care if I make it out alive
And I’m not sure if I’m in love,
but it feels like freedom

And my twenties are running, and running
I’m running outta time”
Ashe © Luke Rogers
Ashe © Luke Rogers



Ashe © Luke Rogers
Ashe © Luke Rogers

This really is the start to an era of independence and liberation.

“After a whirlwind few years, I was exhausted and wanted out of my career,” Ashe shared to social media upon her new song’s initial release in late June. “I fell in love and moved back to Nashville, but music and singing felt hollow and sad. I didn’t want to see anyone or for anyone to see me. The idea of rehearsing for tour would set off panic attacks, which I’d never had before. I was hurting really badly, and I was ashamed to say anything. I didn’t think I had good enough reasons to feel as terrible as I did, and didn’t want anyone to think I wasn’t grateful for the success I was so fortunate to have.”

“I decided to take a beat, cancel the tour, and take time off indefinitely. I did heaps of therapy, gardened, painted, spent time with my family, uncovered things I had buried and needed to work through, did more therapy, purchased power tools, built things… This time last summer in Nashville, I started writing again. I treaded very lightly. Kept it secret and used it as a way to make sense of the last few years in private. I was taking my time and careful about sharing the music. I didn’t want links sent around. The whole thing felt fragile. When ready, I showed the music to those I trusted in my living room.”

“The next part of the story is deeply layered and painful and while I want to be candid, I’m disappointed I cannot tell it. What I’m at liberty to say, and grateful to say, is this: Amongst many changes, I’m now an independent artist and will be releasing my first ever independent album, Willson. It’s been a mind melt!! Wow I’m grateful to be on the other side and for all your kindness. I feel lucky I’ve been able to take this time, to still be here and that in the end, I’m able to put this album out my way. Thank you so so much from the bottom of my heart. I really missed this and I really missed you.”

We were so wild and rеckless,
the speakers were cranked in the driveway

And you were kissing my neck,
so hot it was fogging the glass
And I’ll give it away,
but I’m doing it my way

And they’ll all tell me that I’m crazy
for moving too fast

But, baby
Ashe © Luke Rogers
Ashe © Luke Rogers



Ashe © Luke Rogers
Ashe © Luke Rogers

And I’m not sure if I’m in love, but it feels like freedom, and my twenties are running, and running…

Co-written together with Julian Bunetta, Steph Jones (of Sabrina Carpenter’s “Espresso”), and Boygenius producers Collin Pastore and Jake Finch, “Running Out of Time” is as infectious as it is confessional. It really does feel like Ashe is catching us up on what we’ve missed, the most important points being the metaphorical and literal freedom deep in its core.

“While ‘Running Out of Time’ moonlights as a love song, it’s about self exploration and independence,” the Nashville-based artist tells Atwood Magazine. “For me, that looked like getting out of Los Angeles, getting more comfortable with things like my mortality, and worrying less about the opinion of others. It feels like such the right sentiment after a long time away.”

“I just feel like the things I care about are much different now,” she adds, diving deeper into her current headspace. “I wanted so badly to be a ‘success,’ and once I had a taste of it I was faced with the reality that it had nothing to do with my happiness or what really brought me joy. Taking time off reorganized a lot of priorities for me, and while I of course hope people love my music, their feelings about it no longer dictate the way I feel about myself.”

Ashe's third album 'Willson' is set to release September 6, 2024!
Ashe’s third album ‘Willson’ is set to release September 6, 2024!
I’ve got to go see ’bout a guy in Tennessee
And I don’t care if I make it out alive
And I’m not sure if I’m in love,
but it feels like freedom

And my twenties are running, and running
I’m running outta time

Atwood Magazine recently caught up with Ashe for an in-depth conversation about her new single and her forthcoming third album. Read more about “Running Out of Time” and what this music means to her in our interview below, and stay tuned for the upcoming release of Willson, out September 6!

“I love how racing and fun it is,” she beams. “I don’t think there will be a more fun song to play live in my set. I hope listeners feel a sense of freedom when they hear it, encouraged to take the leap, cut the hair, make the move; life is short.”

And I’m not sure if I’m in love
But, it feels like freedom
And I’m coming (I’m coming)
I’m running
I’ve got to go see ’bout a guy in Tennessee
And I don’t care if I make it out alive
And I’m not sure if I’m in love,
but it feels like freedom

And my twenties are running, and running
I’m running out of time

— —

:: pre-order Willson here ::
:: stream/purchase Running Out of Time here ::
:: connect with Ashe here ::
Stream: “Running Out of Time” – Ashe



A CONVERSATION WITH ASHE

Running Out of Time - Ashe

Atwood Magazine: Great to catch up, Ashe! What's the story behind “Running Out of Time,” and why did you choose to release this as the first single off your new record – and your first song back since Rae?!

Ashe: Hello again! 🙂 I wanted to come back with something more lighthearted and vibrant and spirited versus some more vulnerable themes of depression that are throughout my third album… It’s such a finding yourself, coming-of-age record, and it felt like a “kick down the door” approach to *coming back* to the public eye versus a more melodramatic return.

It's been twenty months since your monumental sophomore album's release. What's your relationship like with the songs off Rae these days? How has that record grown with you over these past two years?

Ashe: I will always love that record, it was the most carefree I had been making music and that will always stick with me. That said, I’m grateful to be kicking off a new season.



Ashe © Luke Rogers
Ashe © Luke Rogers

You’ve talked about how “Running Out of Time” moonlights as a love song, but it’s really about self-exploration and independence. Where, for you, did those emotions stem from?

Ashe: There was a long period of time I was unknowingly forming to others’ molds, and “Running Out of Time” is an expression of setting myself free.

You’ve also mentioned wrestling with (and trying to be more comfortable with) things like mortality and other people’s opinions. How have you found ways of coping with these things, and has it worked?

Ashe: I think it’s very human to experience complicated, scary, anxious feelings around mortality and people’s thoughts about our lives, those emotions are going to come up with or without my permission and I’m learning to get more comfortable with my reactions to them and letting them pass on through. My responsibility is how I respond to those emotions that inevitably come up.

“Running Out Of Time” is such an energetic and spirited anthem – I absolutely love it! Sonically, what were you going for with this song? What was your vision for it, if any?

Ashe: I wanted it to soar. Very Springsteen-esq inspired, I wanted it to feel fresh, and also like a song you heard growing up as a kid decades ago.

Ashe © Luke Rogers
Ashe © Luke Rogers



Likewise, do you have any favorite lyrics or lines from this track?

Ashe: “I cut my hair even though I knew better than that.” The classic trope of being worried about the girl who just cut her bangs.. like “who hurt you?” It’s just hair, yes, but I had such a severe attachment to it; it was such a part of my identity and I think that’s a familiar feeling.

Given that it’s been nearly two years since we last heard from you, how, for you, does “Running Out of Time” serve as a reintroduction to you and your artistry?

Ashe: It’s both really specific lyrically and nostalgic sonically, which is a pretty honest representation of my artistry. I think fans will experience a familiarity between this song and my old stuff, but hopefully hear a sense of growth and evolution.

Going off this question, who is Ashe in 2024 and how does your new album Willson capture the spirit of your band today? How do you feel you've changed over the past two years, and what excites you about returning with new music now?

Ashe: I just feel like the things I care about are much different now. I wanted so badly to be a “success” and once I had a taste of it I was faced with the reality that it had NOTHING to do with my happiness or what really brought me joy. Taking time off reorganized a lot of priorities for me and while I of course hope people love my music, their feelings about it no longer dictate the way I feel about myself.

What is the significance of the name Willson, and how (if at all) do you feel it captures the spirit of its songs?

Ashe: Willson is my last name. My first album Ashlyn, second Rae. I was hesitant about calling the third album my last name and when I was talking to Finneas about it, he just flat out told me I have to go for my triple crown.

Ashe © Luke Rogers
Ashe © Luke Rogers



In the spirit of teasing listeners, what else can fans look forward to off the new album? Anything we can share to start getting folks amped up and excited?

Ashe: If fans want a more in-depth understanding of why I needed to take time off, they’ll find it in the record.

What do you love most about “Running Out of Time,” and what do you hope listeners take away from it?

Ashe: I love how racing and fun it is; I don’t think there will be a more fun song to play live in my set. I hope listeners feel a sense of freedom when they hear it, encouraged to take the leap, cut the hair, make the move; life is short.

Lastly, who are you listening to these days, that you would recommend to our readers?

Ashe: Loving brat by Charli XCX, Billie’s new album is just TIMELESS, and listening always and forever to Niall Horan, “Heaven” is so, so good.

— —

:: pre-order Willson here ::
:: stream/purchase Running Out of Time here ::
:: connect with Ashe here ::
Stream: “Running Out of Time” – Ashe



— — — —

Running Out of Time - Ashe

Connect to Ashe on
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Discover new music on Atwood Magazine
? © Luke Rogers

:: Stream Ashe ::



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