In what was the definition of an “Ask and you shall receive” situation, Asher Angel, then a 17-year-old actor primarily known for his work on Disney Channel, scored a Wiz Khalifa feature for his song “One Thought Away.” Khalifa showed up, literally and figuratively, sending in a non-PG verse that likely had Disney execs shaking in their boots: “I get you to the crib, then you get on top of me / You do it, damn, but you never get enough of me / We take a trip, hit the beach for a couple weeks/ Lady in the streets but a freak in the sheets.”
Khalifa, a God to millennial music listeners, cemented his cosign of Angel with his later adlibs as well: “When you think of me, you think of the best,” and “Taylor Gang up higher than the rest,” as Angel crooned his way around the hook-centric chorus: “Please don’t waste no time I… wanna stay / Well, you know it’s true-ue-ueeee / We’re connected / I’m one thought away.”
Angel, during his off time from the Shazam franchise and other acting projects, has been committed to expanding his music catalog, releasing his 2020 project Mixtape and other miscellaneous pop-R&B geared singles. His newest, “Flip The Switch,” is out now.
Theatre to Music
Growing up in Arizona, Angel was heavily involved in musical theatre and continues to be inspired by that medium today. His training in that department comes through in the few live performances of “One Thought Away,” a deceivingly tough song to pace through vocally, that are available for viewing online.
“I’d be listening to Billy Elliott or Wicked or Secret Garden or Mary Poppins and that was my entire world,” he said. “I guess the transition happened during my Disney days. I figured it out as I was growing up. I found more music and more passion from listening to different genres. These last two years… I’ve had this new team, who is incredible. I’ve got HARV, who has been a part of Justin Bieber’s projects since he was little, and Felisha King Harvey and KP The Great.” Harvey’s credits include Bieber, Sevyn Streeter, and Normani, while KP’s include John Legend, Fantasia, and Jamie Foxx.
“I’ve been able to dial in on my artistry and my creative process with them,” he continued. “I probably have 100 songs in the vault that are very true to who I am. I’ve been able to be in the studio… to use my voice to write songs that resonate with me and hopefully connect with the world.”
“Flip The Switch”
Angel’s new song “Flip The Switch,” out now, could be seen as a mini “When I Get You Alone” by Robin Thicke. Of course, Angel was only 15 days, yes, DAYS, old when that song came out in September 2002, so he, naturally, gravitates towards music he has been consciously aware of. “2010, man… that was the best,” he said. “That was THE era. That’s the kind of music I’m passionate about. I want to still incorporate that pop genre as well so it’s a good balance of both pop and R&B.”
On the track, Angel mixes real-life mental health struggles with doses of the performative storytelling of R&B: “I’m one of one / The way I run it up, you would think I’m on the run / Fly her out to London just to have a little fun… / Everything I do is intentional / Double down… ima let him know.” The lack of adlibs prevents him from showing any excess vocal flair, therefore the personality of the track is rather stagnant, but he has certainly grown into the kind of bright, cocky charisma needed to ride a beat like this.
“I just think my artist development over the last two years has led me to this path,” he said. “I feel like why ‘Flip The Switch’ is so important to me and why it represents what it does is because it’s about being confident and comfortable in your own skin. Being on social media, there’s so much negativity. People doubting you. It can really affect your mental. I pushed that negativity to the side and like I said… I flipped the switch.” For that last line, he lifted the palm of one hand up to his shoulder with a broad smile as if he was humbly bragging to ‘the haters.’ “I don’t care what people think,” he continued. “I’m just gonna keep doing me… spreading love and positivity.”
His use of the term artist development, a hot topic on ‘Stan Twitter’ since the “Omg, is Tate McRae an industry plant???” conversation began but realistically stemming from the idea that young artists today don’t get the same educational entryway into the industry that previous generations of artists did, sparked new layers to the chat.
“Artist development is so important,” he said. “If I didn’t meet these people, I wouldn’t be on the path that I am. They are the ones who got me in the studio, trained me, and opened me up creatively to the process. I never had that before. If you surround yourself with people who are talented and passionate, and who believe in you, it really goes the distance. Being with LA Reid, working with Hitmaka, being in the acting world… everything I’ve gone through in my career is like a puzzle piece. I’m attaching a new puzzle piece every single day.”
Outside of music, it’s safe to say his audience is holding out hope for an eventual buddy comedy with his Shazam costar Jack Dylan Grazer based on their chaotic and hilarious press run for the film, but Angel says he’s still working on establishing himself as a viable creative in his other endeavors.
“I think it has been hard in the past because people look at me as just an actor,” he said. “That’s how I started, but they don’t really know my background. I released three songs when I was 16-17 then didn’t do anything for a few years. All of my fans and followers who support me on social media are now starting to pick up on it. They’re like, ‘Oh, I didn’t even know you sing.’ The more I release things, the more people will start to realize that I’m more than just an actor. I’m an artist as well.”
With a more complete body of work and a tour in mind for this year, Angel is committed to turning more heads as an entertainer. “I’m going to be consistently releasing music this entire year,” he said confidently. “Every month or two I’m going to have a new release. It has been so long, and I can’t wait.”