Thornton junior shares evolution of his musical career

Junior Kane Acosta, who goes by the stage name Ashes to Amber, performed at creative space Allies Worldwide in Downtown L.A. Saturday, invigorating the crowd with his upbeat alternative rock anthems. (Photo courtesy of Kane Acosta)

Kane Acosta, a junior majoring in music industry, has been crafting and recording his own music since he was 8 years old. 

Acosta discovered his stage name, Ashes to Amber, when he started writing a plethora of songs during a rough time in his life that symbolized his growth and transformation as an artist. 

“I wrote like a bunch of songs, just coming out through a period of my life where it was somewhat dark,” Acosta said. “And eventually through time, I wrote all this music, and I released everything that had happened, showing transition coming from ashes to amber, which is a reminisce of warm light it’s like the transformation of going from nothing to something.” 

The songwriter draws inspiration for his songs from the emotions he feels on a daily basis. His debut EP “Voodoo Blu,” which dropped in October 2018, gained popularity because of the song IRIS. This relatable love song speaks on the concept of love and that first moment when one person looks into the eyes of another and remembers that moment.  

“I usually don’t write music clear to a specific person,” Acosta said. “I probably write it toward a feeling because, for example, off of the ‘Voodoo Blu’ album, that was pretty much written off a weird feeling that would come out of somebody controlling a voodoo blue doll.” 

Before becoming Ashes to Amber, Acosta was an EDM artist in high school under the stage name Steedy Royce. After two years, Acosta realized EDM was not his style and that he wanted to create music with more meaning while connecting it to the emotions he feels.

“I wanted to play live instrumentation because that’s how I started, so immediately something I realized my sophomore year here [at USC], I just randomly found this other kid in music, his name is TJ [Wee], he’s a production major, and we just met up and just started making music,” Acosta said.

Wee, a junior majoring in music production, met Acosta briefly at the start of their freshman year and connected with him again a year and a half later through a mutual friend. Wee, who is currently Acosta’s producer, has been working musically with Acosta since last year.

“I think it’s just fun working with Kane just because he’s down for anything,” Wee said. “He’s very unapologetically him. He’s not classically trained or anything and he just kind of goes off his intuition and feel, and I think just the more we do it together, the more practice he’s getting … It’s just really fun to see the progression of our music through our releases and what we’re making.”

Wee said he sees the passion and emotion in the music Acosta creates and only hopes to continue working with him and releasing more music.

“We’ll probably end up working together for a long time, like for awhile just because we’re best friends,” Wee said. “We see each other every day, and I don’t see myself not working with him in the near future.” 

Lewis Caldwell, who works on the creative design of Acosta’s music, has known Acosta for more than a year and said he immediately took a liking to his friend’s music.

“Kane is a very unique person,” said Caldwell, a junior majoring in business administration. “He’s amazing, he’s like the most charismatic person I’ve ever met. He has so much energy, and I think that it’s so clear in his music. He absolutely just makes whatever he wants and releases it, and you can tell at the core of everything he’s doing, he’s just trying to fun and is succeeding at it.”

Caldwell said he will continue supporting Acosta in his endeavors and is greatly interested in seeing what else he will accomplish and what his future music will sound like.

“As far as I know, he has some music coming and he’s very excited about it and from what I’ve heard, in my opinion it’s better than what’s been released in the past, so I’m excited for that,” Caldwell said. “I think he definitely has potential to scale a lot.”

Acosta hopes to continue his career in this industry and making music that expresses relatable emotions. He eventually hopes to turn Ashes to Amber into a record label or a company that represents the opposite of what the major labels do today. He hopes to have a label that helps artists build their careers without having to be bound to a contract for years.