An East Tennessee native from Knoxville,  our Up & Coming Spotlight Artist started performing at a theater in Pigeon Forge at the age of 11. When she was 13, she and her mother made the move to Nashville so she could pursue a career in music. She signed a deal with Columbia Records one year later.

Ashley Monroe is our Up & Coming Spotlight Artist. PHOTO COURTESY ASHLEY MONROE

Ashley Monroe is our Up & Coming Spotlight Artist. PHOTO COURTESY ASHLEY MONROE

No stranger to the struggles of the music business, her career has experienced ups and downs and bumps in the road. But she keeps pressing on. Nashville takes her, and her music, seriously and she is often featured on the Grand Ole Opry. Who are we talking about? This week’s SEN spotlight shines on one of country music’s most authentic singers, Ashley Monroe.

Early in Monroe’s career she had two songs reach the Billboard Hot Country Charts. Her title track “Satisfied” reached No. 43 and “I Don’t Want To” climbed to No. 37. Both songs were duets with the legendary Ronnie Dunn, but ultimately it was decided not to release the album right away.

After a hard road, and waiting almost two years, her album “Satisfied” was finally released in May of 2009 . The album’s two year wait was a decision made by Sony Records because there wasn’t much commercial success at the time. Though it was a rough start, that road led her to where she is today – and she still hasn’t given up.

After splitting with Sony Records, Monroe got another record deal with Warner Brothers Nashville and released her second studio album, “Like a Rose,” which was produced by Vince Gill. The single “Weed Instead of Roses” from that album reached No. 39 on the Hot Country Charts.

Ashley Monroe and Blake Shelton performing their No. 1 song "Lonely Tonight" at the CMA Awards. PHOTO COURTESY ASHLEY MONROE

Ashley Monroe and Blake Shelton performing their No. 1 song “Lonely Tonight” at the CMA Awards. PHOTO COURTESY ASHLEY MONROE

She also appeared on Blake Shelton’s album, “Bringing back the Sunshine” and was featured on his second single “Lonely Tonight,” which soared to No. 1 on the Country Airplay charts. She has become great friends with Blake and Miranda Lambert both, and has collaborated with both of them.

When Monroe married Chicago White Sox pitcher John Danks in October of 2013, Lambert was her maid of honor and Shelton officiated the ceremony.

Monroe’s new album, “The Blade,” comes out July 24, 2015 – and you can bet she will enjoy great success with it. If you visit her website you can preorder now, and if you were listening to NPR this morning you heard an exclusive preview of the album.

Ashely Monroe's New Album, "The Blade" debuts for its first listen on NPR - July 16 in the a.m.

Ashely Monroe’s New Album, “The Blade” debuts July 24.

Prior to her current solo successes, Monroe had additional success when she, Miranda Lambert and Angaleena Presley formed a group called Pistol Annies, releasing their debut album “Hell on Heels” on Columbia Records Nashville.

With a powerhouse of friends like that she is bound to make her way in this rugged business called the music industry. Ashley Monroe is here to stay and I have a feeling we will be hearing a lot more from her.

If you would like to check out some of her latest music, the title track of her new album is below, and you can pre-order “The Blade” on her website or keep up with the latest news from Monroe on her Facebook or Twitter pages.