In her new video for “Pretty Shiny Things,” singer-songwriter Kassi Ashton literally faces her vanity — confronting expectations to maintain a perfect appearance on the outside while finding one’s own inner beauty as a source of resistance and power.
Penned by Ashton with Emily Landis, the tune’s unsettlingly wistful lyrics find the narrator relating her mother’s suggestion that a woman’s beautiful outward appearance has more significance than her intelligence. “Put your makeup on, girl, stand up straight,” Ashton sings, “You face will take you farther than your brain.” The video was filmed in Nashville by director Kristin Barlowe, who previously collaborated with Ashton on her clip for “Violins.”
“In our society, it feels like we’re forced to evaluate our reflection everywhere we turn, always waiting for a confirmation from someone else that we are enough,” says Ashton in a release. “Putting that, and something so personal for me, into a visual is a weird task. I wanted it to feel real, not forced.”
Ashton was one of three up-and-coming artists — along with Travis Denning and Jameson Rodgers — chosen by the Country Music Association as a recipient of their first-ever CMA KixStart Artist Scholarship. For the next year, the organization and its staff will provide support for the three artists, connecting them with professionals within the industry and providing unique opportunities to participate in special events including CMA Fest and the C2C: Country 2 Country festival in the U.K.