Talk Freelance To Me

Ashley Feller: Amplifying Florida's Arts Scene With Podcasting

August 11, 2023 Ashley Cisneros Mejia Season 1 Episode 12
Talk Freelance To Me
Ashley Feller: Amplifying Florida's Arts Scene With Podcasting
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Special Note: Since the time of this recording, Ashley Feller has ended her original podcast and will be launching a new one! Sunshine State Showcase will also celebrate the creative spirit of Florida, but on a statewide level. Sunshine State Showcase is set to premiere on September 24th, 2023.

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Our guest in this episode is the unstoppable Ashley Feller, a talented professional musician, content creator, and the heart behind The St. Andrews Jezebel Podcast and the upcoming Sunshine State Showcase Podcast.

Ashley's life is a testament to the power of creativity, determination, and the ability to pivot in the face of unexpected challenges. In a world turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic and the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, Ashley refused to let the darkness outshine her talent and drive. 


Join us as we delve into Ashley's journey into podcasting and the creation of her first podcast, the St. Andrews Jezebel Podcast. Inspired by an original song and her love for her hometown, this podcast has become a platform for artists, musicians, and business owners, highlighting the incredible resilience of the St. Andrews community.


This episode is a must-listen for creatives looking for inspiration and for anyone passionate about supporting local arts and culture. Whether you're an artist, musician, freelancer, or simply a lover of stories of resilience and reinvention, Ashley Feller's story is one you won't want to miss. Tune in and be inspired!


Connect with Ashley Feller on Instagram

@thest.andrewsjezebelpodcast

@ashleyfellermusic

@sunshinestateshowcase.fl

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SPECIAL SHOUT OUT
Our original show music was composed by the one and only Donna O. Raphael of World Instrumentals. Please visit her website and support her!

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Ashley Mejia:

Welcome, everyone to another episode of the talk freelance to me podcast. I'm your host, Ashley Cisneros. mahiya and today you are in for a treat. As you get not just one Ashley, you get to Ashley's. I am so happy to welcome Ashley feller to the podcast. I Ashley, how are you today?

Ashley Feller:

Hey, Ashley. I'm doing great. Thank you so much for having me. We're Ashley squared.

Ashley Mejia:

We are and I'm so excited that you're here. So Ashley, and I will Ashley. She's a podcaster. And a musician and a singer and a producer and you help people like me who are starting podcasts. She has a fantastic, fantastic podcast called The St. Andrew's Jezebel podcast, which we're going to talk about. And we actually connected at pod fest. What was a couple of months ago, it hasn't even been that long.

Ashley Feller:

It was in January.

Ashley Mejia:

Was it in January? Yeah. Gosh, this year is going by so fast. I feel like that's life now. This is listeners, you guys know that this is a new podcast that I'm creating. And pod Fest was actually my very first podcasting conference ever. And they had a cool little app that you could connect with other folks. And I think I was just looking for other writers. And I found Ashley. I'm like, wait a minute. Her name's Ashley. She writes, and she's from Panama City, which is where I grew up to. Just like me, she's already cool in my book. How was podfest for you? You got over your fear of flying, right? I remember you wrote about it after.

Ashley Feller:

Yes, that was an opportunity for me to get over my fear of flying and I met you and that was so cool. How we had tried to hitch up a couple of times that weekend. Had that fight, it was like right around the corner. And you're right there.

Ashley Mejia:

It was so awesome. And you were so sweet. It's funny, like, I mean, you know, different people. And I don't know if it's a southern thing or what, but I'm all about like reaching out to people and getting to know them and curious about them. And some people are not comfortable with that, like my two best friends, New Yorkers originally. And sometimes they tease me because, you know, I'm like, I'll sit right next to you. I'll reach out. I'm like, Hey, how are you? So it's awesome that you were open to talking with me and I love your podcasts. I love that you're here, guys. Ashley has so much expert knowledge about podcasting about storytelling about creativity in different ways. I'm gonna read a little bit from Ashley's bio so you can learn more about her. So Ashley fellers story is one of resilience, creativity and passion. Born and raised on the Florida Panhandle. Ashley has been a professional musician for over two decades. She's a singer songwriter, Podcast Producer, freelance writer, content creator and owner of ADF media. Like many people in 2020, her world was turned upside down. By the COVID 19 pandemic. Ashley had been on tour when the world shut down, and she was forced to return home. It was a challenging time, but she refused to let the pandemic silence her. Instead, she used it as an opportunity to take action and create a geo local podcast that would help local artists, musicians and business owners feel seen and appreciated during dark times. And through this reconstruction period, actually dedicated to start the St. Andrew's Jezebel podcast, which was named after an original song inspired by her hometown, St Andrews, Florida. The podcast focuses on the cultural renaissance that's happening in St. Andrews. Following the devastation of Hurricane Michael in 2018. Ashley has poured her heart and soul into this project interviewing over 100 locals and producing it for over two years. It has been a labor of love. But it wasn't just a passion project. Ashley knew that she had the skills and the expertise to help other creative people who wanted to start podcasts and hone their strategy. And so she turned her newfound expertise into a business that serves other creatives as a native Floridian Ashley is an advocate for the arts and keeping Florida unique. She's also a mentor for aspiring musicians assisting them with press release writing, EP K structuring and tour planning. In addition to her work as a musician and Podcast Producer Ashley is also a talented freelance writer and a content creator. She's written about music for the jam which drawing on her years of experience in the industry to provide insightful commentary and analysis. And through her company ADF media she offers a range of services to help creative people really achieve their goals. Ashley story is one of resilience and creativity she refused to let this hurricane mean, in a global pandemic silence her, and instead use it as an opportunity. Ashley, thank you so much for being here. Talk about an inspiring bio. My goodness.

Ashley Feller:

Thank you, Ashley. I really appreciate it. Thank you for having me.

Ashley Mejia:

I'm so excited. So we've got to start with the podcast. I love your podcast. I was listening to a couple episodes earlier in the weeks leading up to our interview. So what inspired you to start the St. Andrew's Jezebel podcast? And how has it impacted your career as a musician and a Podcast Producer?

Ashley Feller:

So looking back, I think I wanted a podcast for years. And like many people, I always said, I don't have time right now. I don't have time. I'm mobile. I'm living in a truck. I'm living part time in an RV. I'm living in tents. How am I going to have a podcast when I'm living this way. So I happen to be on tour with my best friend Lynn and her RV in Central Florida. We were in Lakeland. And this was right at the beginning. This is March 18 2020. And we were on our way to the next destination. And I started getting emails from the festival that I was supposed to be covering that the festival had been canceled. So of course that sent me home. And with all that time at home, I no longer had the excuse of I don't have time, I had a friend who had donated some recording equipment to me. And I said, Well, I want to use this. But how. And then I remembered I want to have a podcast. And I was thinking I want to showcase the local people of Panama City, St. Andrews area, because in 2018, we went through the devastation of Hurricane Michael, and with standard media coverage, they talk about it for a few days, and then they move on to the next that's the way it is. But that did a lot to our hearts. We felt like we weren't seeing when that happened. And when that happened, pretty much everyone I knew lost their home their job, their whole life had been turned upside down. And then it happened again in during COVID but in a different way. So I wanted to start the St Andrew's jazz Bell podcast as a way to document our rebuilding. And to highlight the amazing people that are rebuilding Panama City, Bay County, the whole panhandle area that

Ashley Mejia:

is so inspiring. Talk about taking an opportunity, finding the silver lining and seeing this pause that it forced all of us to kind of stop right and reevaluate and think about our goals. That's so cool. So you've interviewed a ton of people like over 100 locals. Tell me about the insights that you've gained into the cultural renaissance that's happening in St. Andrews,

Ashley Feller:

that it is just building more and more and more and more, I think that Panama City has gone through cycles, having an art scene, I think growing up there in the early 90s, having a parent who's a creative, my father was a musician, I was able to see the music scene back then. And then through the recession, as in a lot of places it just sort of tapered down because you know of the recession in and of itself. And we kind of went through a dry spell where there weren't so many creative events and activities and people were just getting by. But eventually, we came back after the hurricane and the locals all said to themselves, we've got a blank slate. Let's beautify our town, let's rebuild. And the insight that I've gained is that there is a creative energy burning in Bay County, and people are just setting the town on fire with what they can do. That is so cool.

Ashley Mejia:

I absolutely love that. And how cool are you to be documenting that process, people who might come there might move there for different reasons, they'll be able to look at your podcasts almost like an archive of this renaissance of this rebirth. That's super cool. So now that you've created this amazing podcast yourself, you've actually turned your expertise into a podcast production company and to a business that serves other people. Can you tell me about the services that you offer through ADF? Media?

Ashley Feller:

Yes, so ADF media has not officially launched yet. I'm just now getting all the branding things together, getting everything ready for the website, but I still am doing work under that name. There's just no official presence out there yet. But the services that I'll be offering are copywriting services, editing services, podcast production, podcasts launches. I can create electronic press kits for people if they need them. I can write press releases, pretty much any kind of content writing you may need. And I'd also like to put together a small team eventually of local creatives here in Bay County. Because in the winter, it can be kind of hard. And you know, everybody's got wonderful skills, and someone might discover that there might be a lot more to them than music, or whatever it is, their main focus is, and come work with me and you know, help other people with their creative projects as well.

Ashley Mejia:

That's awesome. I really love that love that you're already thinking about ways to create these other opportunities for people, not just your clients who are gonna benefit but other people like with jobs, that's incredible. And you so you're also a mentor for other musicians, especially the younger ones. What advice do you have for those who are looking to break into this industry and really make a name for themselves.

Ashley Feller:

Take the time to practice as much as you can. And that doesn't just include your instrument or your songwriting. Take the time to practice your stage presence and how you present when you go to live events, and have a clear definition as to who you are when you start. And it's really good to always have an electronic press kit, because it's essentially, your super business card. If you're out there. And you want to play festivals, you want to play songwriter showcases, you want to just get some local gigs. It's really impressive if you have that electronic press kit.

Ashley Mejia:

Very good advice. I love that. Super, super cool. So how has your experience as a freelance writer and a content creator also influence your work as a musician, and a Podcast Producer and even the other way vice versa?

Ashley Feller:

Oh my goodness, it's hard to draw the lines because it feels like it's all married to each other because I really did not know at the time. I thought oh, the technical thing. Some of those things will carry over from music. But no, it's so many things when it comes to just work ethic and public relations and connecting with people. It's all a similar process. And I just love it. And since I've been doing podcasting, that's actually led me to get more gigs. I didn't see that coming. I've had local business owners in St. Andrews say, Hey, we love your podcast, would you come play at our new cafe for Halloween. And I got to play at this place. It's called Luna Munna. And they had their stage open for the very first time on Halloween. And I got to play on this really high platform, overlooking back Avenue where the witches have their annual ride for pancreatic cancer. And I just got the best seat in the house. And it was so cool because of both creative outlets.

Ashley Mejia:

Very cool. Love that what a testimonial. What an example to show how putting yourself out there can really lead to new opportunities. So can you tell us more about your advocacy for the arts in Florida? And what initiatives are you involved in that support the creative community?

Ashley Feller:

I think it's very important that we embrace that Florida has a very unique culture. In and of itself, we really do get a Florida has been around a long time. And we're a big mixture of all kinds of people and all those people are wonderful and have great stories and art that needs to be shared. So a big initiative that I found myself drawn to in the last few years is the Friends of Florida Folk, and festivals that are within the universe of the Florida Folk Festival. There's the willow McLean festival. There's Barbourville there's the old time convention down in Central Florida. And they're all made up of people who are passionate about Florida culture, Florida roots, Florida environmental issues. And it's just an honor to be sharing my original music. And you know, just things that I've learned how to do. I taught a marketing workshop festival I went to a few weeks ago. It's been great to connect with the folks in that hemisphere as well. Awesome.

Ashley Mejia:

Awesome, awesome. So you, you've done a lot. I'm sure you've learned a lot. Can you talk about the challenges that you face as a musician and Podcast Producer and then how you've overcome them?

Ashley Feller:

I would say some of the challenges have been letting myself get in the way. I would say that. I'm guilty of telling myself the worst lies to get out about myself, like, you know, people throw around that word impostor syndrome all the time. And it's very real. And that's something that I continue to contend with. And the way that I try to get through it is I write down what I'm grateful for every day because that's a reflection of how much I'm blessed and the hard work that I've been doing. And I also write down my wins, I write down my wins every end of the week. And when I'm feeling kind of blue, I look back at them. And I say, look at how much you've won throughout your life. And especially since the two major disasters being the hurricane, and COVID.

Ashley Mejia:

That is super inspiring. Ashley, I love that I think being a creative oftentimes requires bravery and courage, because it's vulnerable to create something and put it out into the world and just kind of wince and kind of, you know, you hope that people will receive it well, and receive it even the way you intended it. And then we do that over and over. So every song you're doing every performance, every interview, everything that you're creating is just more vulnerability, it's more every time. So that's really great advice. I love the idea of writing down our wins to revisit them. So how do you approach your process of creating content for your podcasts and other projects? And what strategies do you use to stay inspired and motivated?

Ashley Feller:

So my process with producing my own podcast has evolved over time as that's often the journey of any podcaster, I wouldn't say there's too many who do it exactly the same as when they started. And I started out with a bunch of solo episodes. And that eventually progressed to invite my first guest, and then I was hooked. And then I went through a season where I recorded at the local library, because they have a podcast studio. And then I went to pod fest. And I was very inspired by Mike ham, who has greetings from the Garden State, which is a local podcast about New Jersey. And the thing that is so unique about his is he does all his interviews on location. So I was inspired to begin this last season by recording all my interviews with the locals on location throughout St. Andrews. So the typical process is I'll take about a three week period, and I'll record everybody all 10 interviews for the season. And then I'll use the remaining week or so that's left to do all the marketing material, that way everything is done, or mostly everything is done before the season actually starts. And then when the season actually starts. That's when I can say to the community, you know, Hey, have you heard the episode? Let's have a talk about it. Meet me at Uncle Ernie, meet me at this local establishment. And let's talk about what we love about St. Andrews and use those episodes that were published as a preface point. And that's my process now.

Ashley Mejia:

Wow, that is super inspiring, especially for someone like me, who's, you know, I'm just starting this project. And so to see kind of where you've gone and how you've taken it, and really maximizing the mileage from these interviews and creating follow up discussions to see how people react. And yeah, I'm sure you come up with cool ideas from what people take away when they listen. That's super cool.

Ashley Feller:

I love that. Yeah. So there's a lot to be said about looking at your analytics, you can go in on the back end of apple and see exactly where folks are dropping off. And then you can kind of just analyze, is there a trend here and then make an adjustment to whatever you're doing to improve things?

Ashley Mejia:

Very cool. Such good advice. So good. Can you share any insights or lessons that you've learned from your years of experience in music, and how these insights have shaped your career path

Ashley Feller:

today? It kind of all goes back to don't let yourself get in the way again, because there are many times it doesn't matter what I'm doing, whether I'm writing or podcasting or playing music, sometimes I'll tell myself, you're not what this bio says you are. And I have to again, remind myself of my wins and my gratitude, to get through it. But another challenge is avoid comparing yourself to other people. Trust in your own process, and that you're on the right path and that you're blessing the world with whatever it is you have to give the world and that's what they're doing to and respect what they're doing and have respect for what you're doing and you'll be just fine.

Ashley Mejia:

That's so good. It's so good. I mean, and I think experiences like pod fest are really inspiring. You can also get into that comparison. You can get into feeling like oh my goodness, I have I had some ideas, but wow, look what this person has done or what they're doing. But, you know, we weren't there during their early days to see what the path look like at the beginning. So I love that idea of respect of mutual respect to treating ourselves with respect. We need that we need those reminders, I think daily, to respect ourselves and to be kind to ourselves. That's great. So what's next for you in ADF? Media? Can you talk about projects or initiatives that you're really excited about in the coming months and even years, I am excited

Ashley Feller:

just to start, I just got the papers a few weeks ago that it's registered, I could go ahead and really get the ball rolling. So right now, I'm just really happy with making an intentional plan of how I want this business to go and who I want to serve, which is namely underserved creative people. That's mainly whom I want to help, and whom I would like to bring on board with me when the time is right, to take it even further to amplify those messages of you know, folks who are underserved, and need some help to get their message out there.

Ashley Mejia:

I love that. Ashley, that's so cool. We need all of it. You know, when you're talking about these really challenging times like Hurricane Michael, like the pandemic, a lot of times we think about the first responders and medical folks and yes, we need to give them their flowers and be grateful to them. And we also need creatives, we need people like you to document those stories to express those emotions, through music through song through lyrics. And so that idea of you taking these lessons that you've learned and helping other creative people who may not have an opportunity to go to pod fest, or do some of the things that you've been able to do or me that I've been able to do talk about a gift to the world, because we need creative people during hard times. That's what gets us through movies, Netflix series, music, that creative energy, that's the part about being human. That's what makes us different from robots and chat. JpT is our soul and creative people like you who are bringing people up and giving them a mic. That's really powerful, really, really powerful.

Ashley Feller:

Well, thank you, it's an honor to do it. And I'm just floored by the stories I hear every time I interview someone and inviting them back so that folks can see the revolution. I'm a fan of having returning guests like every year or so. That's really

Ashley Mejia:

great. I love that to kind of see where they are now and to witness that trajectory and that progress. Very cool. Ashley, I know so many people are gonna want to learn more about you. So where can folks find you online if they want to connect after hearing this?

Ashley Feller:

So right now the best place to get in touch with me would be ashley.feller@gmail.com. I have a website with for my music side of things, which is Ashley Feller, music.com. And then if you'd like to check out the St. Andrews jazz Abell podcast, that would be the St. Andrews Jezebel podcast.com. And I'm on Instagram, as at Ashley feller music, and then also at the St. Andrews Jezebel podcast. So lots of handles wearing a lot of hats.

Ashley Mejia:

Yeah, you are. That's great. Well, you should be easy to find that. And for folks that are listening. Ashley, thank you. Thank you. Thank you for being on the podcast today. I'm so excited for ADF media and to see all of the creative projects that are going to be made possible when people are going to be able to talk to you and get benefit from everything that you've learned and everything that you've done in the creative space. Thank you so much.

Ashley Feller:

Thank you, Ashley. It's such a joy to have met you and to be on your podcast now. And I'm just so proud of you and excited for you.

Ashley Mejia:

I appreciate it. Thank you. And with that we've come to the end of another episode. Please make sure you hit subscribe if you haven't already done so. And give me a five star review on Apple. This will help out a lot and getting the word out about this brand new podcast. I invite you to check out the show notes and also grab my free niches get riches, freelance writing worksheet to brainstorm the best niches for your writing business. If you're not a writer, you can still use it to get business ideas. And until next time, this is actually a talk freelance to me. Don't forget, we all get this one precious life. Don't constrain yourself to a box that you were never meant to fit in, it is your right to profit from your own creative gifts. This podcast was created by Ashley Cisneros makiya our music was composed by Donna Raphael of world instrumentals. Talk freelance to me is a product of Phoenix creative studio

How Ashley Feller got into podcasting and the origin of the St. Andrews Jezabel Podcast
Ashley’s insights about the cultural renaissance happening in the St. Andrews community
How Ashley is helping other podcasters through her company, ADF Media
Ashley’s advice to young musicians
How Ashley’s experience as a content creator influences her work as a musician and podcast producer
How Ashley advocates for the arts in Florida
How Ashley has overcome challenges as a creative
Ashley’s unique creative process
Ashley’s career wisdom