by Aja Chestine
Milwaukee born Ashlee Jasper is a young upcoming gospel sensation. She belts out notes with her powerfully mesmerizing voice.
She began singing in her youth choir at an early age, but it wasn’t until she was 15 years old that she realized God had blessed her with a divine gift.
When asked who inspires her to sing she smiles and replies, “my grandmother and mother. Growing up watching them captivate a whole church congregation was all I needed to follow in their footsteps.”
Ashlee sings neither traditional nor contemporary gospel music, but a style of her own. Her sound merges gospel, jazz and r&b soul music. Ashlee’s voice echoes the sound of legendary artists Nancy Wilson, Phyllis Hyman and Kim Burrell.
I asked her opinion on the subject. She simply stated “I don’t think I sound like anyone else, I have a raspy voice that makes my sound unique. “
Ashlee was shot into the spotlight during her sophomore year at Vincent High School when she participated in High School Celebrity.
To enter into the competition, you had to have full support of your high school, a 3.00 GPA and be a participant in some form of community service.
She met all three requirements easily. The competition was made up of 863 students across the state of Wisconsin. Week after week, Ashlee shocked and impressed the audiences that filled the Midwest Center.
After three months of practice, auditions and showcases, Ashlee was pronounced the winner of High School Celebrity.
Since then, Ashlee has opened for BET’s Sunday Best mentor & gospel powerhouse Kim Burrell. She has also been highlighted by organizations like Running Rebels, where she won the Free Yourself Award twice.
Ashlee recently pursued another dream, graduating from VICI Cosmetology School in 2012. Ashlee says “I’m the second oldest of 5 siblings and it makes me tremendously proud to be the first in my family to finish college.
No one told me I had to further my education; I’ve just always wanted to be an example for my younger brother & sisters as well as the youth I mentor at church.”
Giving back to her community is a huge part of who Ashlee is. She has volunteered at Luther Manor Nursing Home for the past 5 years, interacting and supporting the elderly. Due to her hard work and dedication, Luther Manor offered Ashlee a job.
Ashlee also makes return visits to Vincent High School to speak to students about putting their education first. This keeps her very much grounded as she pursues her passion & dreams.
When I spoke to Ashlee about her family unit, you could see the love in her eyes. She said her parents have always been extremely supportive of her dreams.
Her foundation and connection with the Lord grew and was strengthened by going to church 3 or 4 times a week with them. Recently, she met up with her biological grandparents, stating, “you can’t truly know where you’re going until you know where you come from.” She added the experience was a life changing experience for her that she didn’t regret at all.
On Saturday, September 29, Ashlee performed at Zion Rock Missionary Baptist Church’s 2nd Annual Gospel Explosion where she opened as the featured artist. She electrified the crowd with her dynamic sound. Ashlee is currently writing and recording music for her first solo project. S
he is also a part of the United in Worship Choir, under the direction of Minister Ky’eric Powell. I asked her how she juggles everything. She was very animated when she responded, “I haven’t gotten where I’m at alone. I’m supported by the AJ team: Agent Jason Rush, assistant Latoya Love, background singers Felicia Smith, Julianna Jasper and Jazzmine Finger; vocal Coach Ky’eric Powell, spiritual advisors Julian and Joyce Jasper Sr., and countless band members. She went on to express that, “without a doubt, I’m living the words I’m singing.”