Ashley Cox of Professional Victims talks success in the Syracuse music scene

Singer-songwriter Ashley Cox of Professional Victims discusses her songwriting process and her journey as a musician.

A twenty-dollar bill tucked in between her guitar strings; that is when singer-songwriter Ashley Cox said she realized her talents as a musician could take her beyond the street corners of Downtown Syracuse and into the city’s music scene. 

“I started playing on the streets just for fun, playing cover songs,” Cox said. “And I was drawing some crowds.”

The SAMMY Awards Show is 7 p.m. Friday at the Palace Theatre in Syracuse.

Those crowds of people still gather to hear Cox perform, but now it’s with an alternative rock band she started with her husband Shawn Sullivan.  The band, Professional Victims, is popular in the Syracuse music scene and was recently nominated for a Syracuse Area Music Award for its album Fathom the Cosmos.

This success comes from a collaborative effort between the two musicians, Cox and Sullivan said. Working together is key to creating the band’s unique sound.

Cox or Sullivan will come up with an idea or a melody and then they will jam together until the idea fleshes out into something more.  Lately, Cox has been taking the reins when it comes to writing the songs for the band, Sullivan said.

“Ashley is a really good songwriter,” Sullivan said.  “She can write songs so easily.”

But there is more to being a successful musician than just putting out a record, you need to give your audience an experience Sullivan said.  Professional Victims has recently started incorporating more multimedia into its performances by projecting and syncing video to its songs.

“Since we are a duo, we try to a make it a little more entertaining for people, more of a spectacle,” Sullivan said.

Standing on stage, feeling the music and performing her own, original songs is the best part of being a musician, Cox said.

“When I am on stage it feels like home,” Cox said.  “It is the most natural thing I will do all day.”

Professional Victims is currently working on recording a full-length album.  Sullivan said they already have five songs written, so fans should be expecting to see the album finished sometime in 2016.

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