CLARENVILLE, N.L. – A Newfoundland-born singer and songwriter is making her musical mark in Europe with a song that speaks to the environment.
Ashley Fayth Vardy, who grew up on Random Island, has written and recorded a song — “Sing for the Songbirds” — for the Chester Zoo and their campaign that aims to help endangered songbirds in Indonesia and around the world.
“I finally found a platform to use music, the arts, and skills that I have to actually enforce something I truly believe in,” Vardy said in a Facebook interview from Chester, U.K., where she currently lives.
Vardy has had a long musical career.
“I started playing guitar when I was about six or seven,” she said. She recorded her first album when she was just 16 and has been releasing music ever since.
She started to go on the road as a touring musician in her mid-twenties.
These days she plays around the U.K., at pubs, festivals and other venues, as well as producing a couple more albums.
Chester Zoo approached Vardy earlier this year, knowing she was an accomplished musician, wanting her to write and record a song for their campaign titled “Sing for Songbirds” to help endangered songbirds in Indonesia and other parts of the world. “It was really humbling to be contacted by one of the top zoos in the world,” she said.
The song is also going to be used by EAZA (European Association for Zoos and Aquaria) for their campaign “Silent Forest” which is an organization that links together zoos all across Europe.
“Sing for the Songbirds” won’t be Vardy’s last connection to the Chester zoon.
The Zoo recently commissioned her to write and record a second song called the “Palm Oil Conga” that is due to be released this upcoming year.
“It’s all about sustainable palm oil,” says Vardy.
In addition, these two songs have inspired Vardy to create a series of songwriting workshops, based on the theme of sustainability.
She is the founder of Songwriting in Schools program which teaches children to use the arts and songwriting to learn about sustainability and to support conservation.
“I love working with the children. I’ve never worked with kids in the past, but I ended up absolutely loving it,” she said.
In the last month, working with the children of Chester, Vardy has helped them write six songs on sustainable palm oil.
“It’s really interesting to see how excited the kids get to be able to write their own songs. It’s great to see how much they’re absorbing and learning.”
Beyond that, Vardy is also focused on other creative pursuits.
She is now in the process of writing a limerick-style book titled, “Blueberry Bay” based on where she grew up in Hickman’s Harbour. She says the book focuses on animals who encounter, first hand, the effects of plastic in oceans.
She hopes to publish that book later this year, adding, “My main focus moving forward is going to be mostly on children and sustainability.”
But she’s not stepping too far from her origins of singing and songwriting.
She says in order to be an accomplished musician and songwriter you have to “play a lot. Being a musician is far more like a regular job than people actually expect; there’s is a lot of spreadsheets, marketing, and branding. You have to understand how business works, you have to try to be well rounded.”
On the topic of activism, Vardy says, “Everyone should be an activist, by using the skills and tools that you already have, with the position you’re in, to do good in whatever thing you believe in.”
You can read more about Ashley Fayth on her website: www.ashleyfayth.com. Follow Ashley on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @ashleyfayth.
You can also listen to her song “Sing for the Songbirds” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f__X_LN1uWw