Recent Lipscomb University graduate, Ashlyn Cranford, is using her strategic communication degree in a way that most people may not expect. She is taking it to the music industry, where she writes, performs and produces her music. In the music industry, she is known as Ashlyn Grayce.
The Nashville native raised on country music found her path through supportive professors, family and friends. Her career choice was natural after growing up with both parents in the music industry. Her first extended play album, Something ‘Bout A Song, released this spring debuted at No. 4 on the iTunes Singer-Songwriter Chart and the bestseller list.
Grayce has been a fan of country music as long as she can remember. Her parents, Dallas Gregory and Cheri Cranford, met singing at the Grand Ole Opry, and both were singer-songwriters before moving to the business end of the industry. At the age of 14, Grayce attended CMA Fest and realized making music was her calling. She then learned how to play guitar and wrote her first song.
Her passion shifted from sports to music in her middle and high school years. As a high school senior at Brentwood Academy, Grayce pondered what she wanted for a future. That led her to a tour at Lipscomb University.
When she toured Lipscomb’s campus, Grayce fell in love with the school, its charm and says, “it just felt like home.” Along the way, she had a little help and encouragement from some of her most influential professors, Alan Griggs, chair of Lipscomb’s communication and journalism department, and Sarah Gibson, associate professor of communication. She says Gibson’s patience and dedication to not only helping her but all other students was inspiring.
“So many of my professors are more than just professors. They really are more like friends,” Grayce says. She has performed at local Nashville venues like the Bluebird Cafe, Tin Roof, Hard Rock Cafe and The Listening Room to name a few. Numerous professors, like Griggs and adjunct professors Jeff Barrie and Dan Cooke, have even come to see her performance. Seeing her professors go beyond the classroom and support their students is why she loves the community at Lipscomb.
“Lipscomb offered a great environment for cultivating relationships, spiritual growth and put me on the perfect career path,” says Grayce.
She says she studied strategic communication because it seemed to her a versatile yet practical degree that would help her in music and everyday life. Through this degree, Grayce combined courses to strengthen her writing and communication skills with coursework in marketing, communication law, media production and even a class in on-camera delivery.
During her time at Lipscomb, Grayce found herself juggling responsibilities among a full coursework, music writing, teaching a class at Ethos Church and nannying. Although her days were busy, she says some of her best years were living on campus where she had fun and made great friends.
“My time at Lipscomb University was amazing,” she says. “I could not have asked for a more wonderful college experience and alma mater.”
Writing her own music about everyday life helps Grayce share her unique story and sound with the world. She also says she aspires to be a role model for others.
"I have had so many amazing opportunities already for which I am very blessed and cannot wait to see what all is in store. I know God has a plan for me and I am ready,” Grayce says in a message on her website. “My biggest dream is to be a great role model to younger kids and use any success I may achieve to help others and this great country in which we live to become an even greater place."
What advice does she have for young songwriters? “Stay true to yourself, work hard and follow your dreams,” she advises.
Follow Ashlyn Grayce on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or visit her website www.ashlyngrayce.com for the latest news, shows and more. Her music can be found on Apple Music, Amazon, iTunes, Spotify and Google Play.