Hangin with Pharrell's New Protégé | Exclusive Film
Pharrell’s 20-year-old protégée shoots an MTV exclusive video for her track ‘By Your Side’
It's the morning after Maxine Ashley's first London show at Servant Jazz Quarters and Pharrell's 20-year-old protégée has arrived at District MTV HQ to film the first of our DEEP CUT film series for her track 'By Your Side'. Forging strong designer visuals with an artist's select track, we can't imagine a better lady to kick off the series than Maxine, who's clearly been influenced by the man who discovered her. "Pharrell inspires me to be a better artist," she says. "Every time I see him work and where he is, it makes me want to work just as hard."
But first things first; she's in need of two of the things guaranteed to perk her up for a big shoot – "food and some green tea" – before we get back to Pharrell.
"I first met him at this hotel he was staying at in New York," says Maxine. "It was exciting, he was the first big celeb I've met and he wanted to sign me, I just didn't understand. Being so young and not knowing much about the business at the time, he's taught me to always stick to what I want to do, and stay by it."
Maxine was just nine years old when she started singing, appearing on a reality TV show called American Juniors, where she admits, "I only got to the second round." Her YouTube discovery followed at age 13.
"I had my YouTube for a while and just wanted to start doing videos of me singing and doing random skits," says Maxine. "But working with Pharrell has opened a lot of doors for me – he's known as f**k. Many people value his opinion. So I get to meet great people I probably wouldn't have been able to on my own."
Growing up listening to "2 Pac, Biggie, Destiny's Child, Sade, Spice Girls and Britney Spears," Maxine's musical interests are as varied as you would expect from the girl who titled her debut EP, Mood Swings. "I'm in a chilled, vibey mood most of the time when writing," she says. "But then I'll be feeling like I want some hype s**t or some hip-hop s**t. It just depends on how I feel that day or how the tracks make me feel."
With her debut album currently "in the works", Maxine's not fussy about future collaborators. "I love collabing with cool arsty people," she says. "Anyone who's open to experimenting and having fun with it."