A Shining Star with Purpose, Passion, and Persistence…
In this issue, Compulsive Magazine pays tribute to trailblazers who overcome adversity in innovative ways. Actress, singer, and songwriter Asia’h Epperson is our cover story, her humble upbringing helped shape her views and empowered her to become resilient, confident, and an innovative force.
She grew up in the picturesque, small town of Joplin, Missouri in the Midwest surrounded by breathtaking waterfalls, creeks, and a close-knit local community that nourished the musical and acting aspirations of a young girl with dreams bigger than life. Asia’h Epperson was raised in a single-parent home with her beloved siblings and loving grandparents who instilled a deeper sense of community, commitment to family, and valuable life lessons.
At the tender age of 6, Asia’h showcased her athletic ability, acting, and singing skills in performances at church plays, talent shows, festivals, school competitions, and the local Boys & Girls Club in her hometown.
She was enlightened by the music soundtracks and performances of country, gospel, pop, and hip-hop artists Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Christina Aguilera, Shania Twain and other leading artists.
To this day, Asia’h attributes part of her successful career to her humble beginnings, quality of life, creativity, and building blocks that shaped her to become resilient in everything that she does. Countless artists in the music industry strive to perform for mass audiences.
For Asia’h, this milestone occurred in 2008 when she auditioned in Atlanta for the popular television hit American Idol. She dedicated one of her musical performances to her father who passed away two days before she performed on Idol.
Asia’h captured the hearts of the American audience and respect from the highly regarded Idol judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson. She shined through the competitions and advanced as one of the top 16 finalists on Season 7. This season was filmed in Los Angeles; where Asia’h took the spotlight that changed the direction of her music career. Asia’h credits Idol with helping launch her music career, which had a monumental impact on her life.
After American Idol, Asia’h highlighted a groundbreaking moment when highly acclaimed R&B singer, songwriter, and record producer Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds contacted her after he watched one of her performances. Living a life of purpose certainly sets you apart from others. Asia’h shared that she draws inspiration from her faith, determination, passion, family, creativity, music, and travels.
Asia’h knows that her strong work ethic, persistence, and passion allow her to evolve as an actress, singer, and songwriter.
What makes Asia’h an innovator?
“It’s important that I don’t lose sight of my purpose, passion, and persistence. As an actress and singer, you have to have passion because you hear more noes than yeses. My faith and determination keep me grounded and motivates me every day.
It’s inevitable that change happens. However, as long as your character does not change — that is what matters. Also, I surround myself with family and friends who are supportive and tell me the truth, regardless of what I do for a living.”
As a music artist, talk about one major breakthrough that changed the direction of your career.
“After one of my performances on American Idol, ‘Babyface’ reached out to me and we solidified a working collaboration for various music projects. Thereafter, ‘Babyface’ selected me as one of the backing vocalists for projects featuring bona fide artists, Jennifer Hudson and Barbra Streisand, among others. I also performed as a background singer in the BET series American Soul, the musical docudrama television series that highlights the legacy of Don Cornelius, Soul Train dancers, crew, and musicians.”
When did you recognize your passion for acting?
“I was in elementary school when the teacher assigned a project in my History Class. I ended up writing a script and playing the role of Harriet Tubman. This is when I realized that I love acting. Growing up, I was inspired by actresses Angela Bassett, Charlize Theron, Viola Davis, Halle Berry, and other leading ladies for their contributions in the film industry.”
What helps you prepare for your acting roles?
“As a professional, you always have to sharpen your tools. I take advantage of every opportunity to attend acting classes, studio sessions, open mic night, perform on stage, pen lyrics, and so forth. It is also important that I connect with creative people and network with those in this industry to solidify my professional relationships.”
What do you enjoy doing when you are not on set or in the studio?
Asia’h recognizes the importance of recharging her mind, body, and soul. She is an adventurous traveler and embraces each experience when she learns about different cultures, food, places, and so forth. Asia’h said, “I gain knowledge by reading self-help books that empower my spirit and wisdom. I also enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, snowboarding, working out, and so on. When time allows, I love to travel to reconnect with family and friends.”
What helps you balance your music and acting careers?
“I always set time aside to work on my acting and music. For example, if I am not on set, I spend time in the studio to work on my music. I usually work on both simultaneously. I also devote time to my writing.” In the international arena, Asia’h continues to transcend cultural and geographic barriers in the music industry. She co-wrote the lyrics of the song “Obsession,” which is also the name of the album that is performed by the South Korean-Chinese K-Pop boy band “EXO.”
As a young woman of color, what advice would you give to any aspiring artists trying to break into the industry?
“I am a biracial woman who grew up in a unique environment. The most powerful thing is to have self-confidence and be proud of who you are. You have to embrace your journey, stay strong and learn how to love yourself. Invest in yourself and make a conscious effort to put things into perspective to work on yourself.”
Asia’h landed acting roles in films and television drama series Murder in the First, The Bobby Brown Story, and OWN’s TV hit megachurch drama series Greenleaf, created by award-winning writer/executive producer Craig Wright and executive produced by Oprah Winfrey and Lionsgate Television. Asia’h continues to shatter the glass ceiling and breaks new ground in the entertainment industry.
In the wake of a global pandemic, Asia’h continues to persevere and solidify her presence in film, television, and music projects. So far, she has been able to incorporate singing performances in many of her acting roles. Asia’h is working on upcoming television, film and music productions, including The Jury, Dear Best Friend, A Message from Brianna, A Christmas Family Reunion, The Christmas Lottery, and the list continues.
She is also working on a Christmas album. Asia’h is on track to conquer each of her dreams and goals in her bright future. The profound insight, knowledge, and wisdom Asia’h shared about her career journey encapsulates the resilience, confidence, creativity, and innovation that one must have to succeed in this new era.
Photography by Kelsey Mcneal
Hair, Makeup & Styling by Breona Moore
Wardrobe by Blessed 4 Less Boutique