Ashley Campbell grew up idolizing her father, country music icon, Glen Campbell. The 31-year-old followed her father from concert to concert, unaware that she was part of country music royalty.
"When you're a little kid, it's not a huge deal to go to concerts and see your dad on stage, because it's so normal to you," explains Campbell in an interview with the Grand Ole Opry. "If growing up around fame shaped me in any way, I guess I wouldn't know, because I don't know any other way to grow up. But I'd like to think I was raised with a good sense of morals, and my feet on the ground."
Campbell learned to play banjo in college, as part of a role in a play she was in, but quickly latched onto the instrument. When she finished college, her father went on tour overseas and invited her to join his band, which she illustrates in the above video.
“Whenever I shared music with my dad, it made him so happy,” Campbell tells PEOPLE. “I was in the early stages of playing the banjo in one of the home movies shown in the video and was rehearsing with my dad before going out on tour with him. Now I watch it and it’s cool just to see him smiling over at me. For him to watch me finding my own way in music was a special bond between the two of us that never went away.”
Campbell learned plenty by going on the road with the "Rhinestone Cowboy" singer – lessons she still carries with her today.
"Being on tour with my dad was the best time of my life," says Campbell. "It was so cool watching the master at work. Just standing behind him on stage and learning from him every night. He was always so at ease on stage, and that's what I try to emulate every night. It's definitely taken a long time to get that feeling of ease on stage, but my dad always said – and I take a lot of comfort in this statement – my dad always said, 'If you do it perfect, they'll want it that way every time.'"
Campbell just released her own The Lonely One album, honoring her father's legacy, while making her first mark as an artist without him.
"This album coming out is like me, starting over, and coming out fresh," explains Campbell. "I've been working with my father for so long, and that was part of my identity, and it still is. But now I'm stepping out on my own as just Ashley Campbell."
The Arizona native still mourns the death her father, but finds comfort in playing the music that would make him happy.
“I’m still dealing with his loss in different ways every day,” says Campbell. “Recently, I have found that I am most happy and I feel so much closer to him when I am doing music.”
Campbell drew on her father's wisdom in every song on The Lonely One.
"My dad always told me, as often as he could, to just do what you love, because you love doing it, and not to do it because you think someone else will like it," Campbell tells PopCulture.com. "And so, that's my rule of thumb with my music is, do I like this? Would I listen to this? Will I enjoy playing this for the rest of my life? And so, the record is just stuff that I love, and I made it the way I wanted to make it."
Purchase The Lonely One at AshleyCampbellMusic.com.
Photo credit: Instagram/ashcambanjo