NASHVILLE, Tennessee- Ainsley Costello comes from a musical background. When her dad, James Costello, was young, he moved to Los Angeles to “do the whole music thing” in much the same way Costello has done since moving to Nashville.
“That’s how I knew wanted to do this. I caught a lot of it from my dad. My dad is an amazing musician. He plays everything under the sun. And I love both my parents for supporting me,” the singer says.
Young Costello started playing guitar when she was 7, but it didn’t click until she began writing songs at age 12.
“When I was little, I was practicing my guitar chords and I handed my dad the instruction book – like he needed it – and told him ‘quiz me on guitar chords.’”
The artists who inspired Costello besides her father include Sara Bareilles, Paramore, The Band Camino, and U2, to name a few. In fact, she advised that U2’s The Joshua Tree was in her top 5 favorite albums.
Costello put out her first album when she was just 15. It was comprised of songs that were written in her bedroom. They made that album in their home studio in Seattle, Washington.
And even though they loved their city and considered it home, the singer/songwriter knew she needed to be in Nashville. Unfortunately, when they finally moved, it was March of 2020 and everything got locked down.
Still, the musical family loves Nashville. “It’s a great place to be stuck in. We love so much about Nashville,” the Seattle native confirms.
In 2020, Costello dove deeply into the whole “Nashville co-writing thing.” She networked and learned more about the songwriting craft.
Explains Costello, “[The Nashville way of writing songs] definitely shows you how to collaborate in a way that you don’t really learn just writing by yourself in your bedroom. It teaches how to pick your battles. I learned so much from co-writing and I am grateful for that time that I had.”
Now as a newly turned 18-year-old, she still does some co-writes but is confident and talented enough to successfully write songs alone as well. And while she normally writes songs for herself, she would never turn away an established artist who wanted to sing her songs. But for the time being, she is mainly just pursuing her own career. She has written so many songs that if another artist needed a certain type of song, she would have plenty to choose from.
She has recorded several original songs, which include her favorites, “Day Dreamer, “5’2”,” and “Love Letter,” only a few of the many songs that she has penned that showcase her diversity and eclectic songwriting ability.
But the song that caught my attention is her latest single, “Little Sister,” a song to which even a 50+/-year-old grandmother could relate.
She relates, “There have been so many people who have been significantly older than me who have come to me and say, ‘This isn’t just a you thing or a young people thing. I felt this way my entire life.’”
Costello continues, “It’s the best thing in the world to write something that so many people over a universal scope can say ‘I relate to this.’”
But the craziest thing is, that Costello does NOT have an older sister. She is an only child. And while so many relate to the song, (it has gone mini-viral on TikTok), she actually wrote the song about a role model, someone very famous to whom she is often compared, Taylor Swift.
She expounds, “I love her, but I don’t want to be the next Taylor Swift.”
However, people are still commenting on the song saying, “This is me. This is my life story. Thank you for writing this.”
“Little Sister” was the first co-write the 16-year-old attempted when she and her family first moved to Nashville, and even though she was terrified going into it, she is pleased that so many people can now relate to the song and she is proud of it.
And although in the past she mainly wrote music in the country style, she now finds herself becoming more mainstream and pop/rock-leaning.
“I’m shocked by the number of rock bands that have come out of Nashville. Everyone is under the impression that Nashville is just country music. Paramore and Kings of Leon came out of Nashville and I was shocked when I found that out. I get to Nashville and hear these bands and think, ‘Hmm, maybe I don’t want to be a country artist.’”
Of the many songs she has composed, the singer/songwriter has mapped out which ones to release and when. A consummate planner, Costello continues to write new music and is already thinking about what is coming for 2023.
While streaming services favor singles and not full records, I wondered if the emerging artist has an album in the works.
She replied, “I would love to do another album in the future. I was raised by a purist musician and I love albums and listening to the whole tracklist in order. I hope to do an album sometime in the future, but for now, I am just taking it one song at a time as I build a little bit of a following and find who can grow with me and my music. Then, when it is time to release an album, there will be a dedicated group of people who will listen to it.”
Never before in all my interviews have I met a more ambitious, focused, and purposeful artist. Even though she is still quite young, she has the confidence of a seasoned superstar. With her innate talent and support from fans, friends, and family, I am sure we will be learning about and listening to Ainsley Costello for many years to come.
Besides all of this, Costello is the youngest artist ever to be endorsed by Breedlove Guitars.
This summer she will be touring, with an itinerary including several college shows all along the East Coast.
You can follow Ainsley Costello on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, and all streaming platforms.
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Bethany Bowman is a freelance entertainment writer. You can follow her blog, Instagram, and Twitter.