Ashley Campbell Opens Up About Alzheimer’s, New Album
Country fans have been following the elder Campbell's journey with Alzheimer's Disease ever since he announced it in 2011, but no one knows it quite like his daughter.
She opens up to Sounds Like Nashville with her thoughts, fears, regrets and more.
A few years ago, Ashley recounts, her father asked she and some friends what movie they were watching. Then, minutes later, he asked the same question. Looking back, she understands it wasn't simply a temporary oversight. “You can’t say if ‘I caught it early or anything like that,’” she says, and adds, “I think what I could have done was maybe have been more in tune with what Alzheimer’s is, and what the symptoms are, I would have been able to paid a lot more attention and spent a lot more quality time with him. But, when you’re younger, you just don’t think about that kind of stuff."
Not only is Ashley a talented singer, she's also fully committed to raising awareness about the disease that has taken toll on her father's brain.
She reflects on the experience of speaking to others. “I come away with a sense of community – and family with these people that I have never met before. We’ve all gone through the same thing, and it’s a very personal thing that we are going through. It unites us all. Even though every one of us is different, so much of it is the same – and it changes you. We’ve all been changed in very similar ways.”
The 29-year-old most recently spoke before a meeting for Alzheimer’s Foundation of America in collaboration with Mental Health America of Middle Tennessee & Senior Helpers Nashville at the Franklin Theatre just outside of Nashville.
One of her biggest pieces of advice? “Every minute with your loved one is precious, because every minute keeps getting smaller.”
Though her father will never perform again, Ashley is focused on her own burgeoning country career. She signed with Dot Records in the fall of 2015--a label that also includes country standouts Steven Tyler and Maddie & Tae--plus, she released her debut single "Remembering" and made her Opry debut.
“I made my Opry debut at the Ryman back in November. Everyone there has been so nice, and has treated me as a family member. That’s exactly how I feel when I go to the Opry. It’s all smiles, and everyone is so kind. It definitely feels like home to me.”
Her future record which she's working on with producer Buddy Cannon will be happen soon, she hopes. The songstress calls the sound "organic and rootsy" with some edginess to it, and she names one instrument that will for sure make an appearance.
“There will be some banjo,” she smiles. “I’ve been playing since 2008. I had always wanted to play it, and I got into a play at my college, and they needed someone to play the banjo. They said ‘Hey, Ashley, why don’t you do it because you’re so good at music?’ I just fell in love with it. The banjo is special to me because of the history of the instrument. Playing it makes me feel like I’m connected to my American roots. It’s cool to connect with history that way.”
Glen Campbell Through the Years