Back when aspiring country music star Ashley Campbell was growing up and feeling her heart swing back and forth between her theater aspirations and her music ambitions, she would dream of a day when she would walk through New York City’s Times Square and see her name in lights.
But she’s no longer dreaming.
She’s making it happen.
“I grew up in musical theater and I always had this dream of seeing my name up on the marquee in Times Square, and when I looked up that night, I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” Campbell tells PEOPLE about the heartwarming moment captured in this exclusive video, shot just minutes before a recent performance at the Opry City Stage in New York City.
“The Opry City Stage is a venue that has such a cool way of merging the music of yesteryear with the music of tomorrow. It was such an accomplishment for me to play there and a moment I will never forget.”
“I’m still dealing with his loss in different ways every day,” says Campbell, who recently released her debut album The Lonely One. “Recently, I have found that I am most happy and I feel so much closer to him when I am doing music.”
Indeed, it’s this shared love of music that bonded the father and daughter through the years and is demonstrated perfectly via precious home videos of the two in the above clip.
“Whenever I shared music with my dad, it made him so happy,” Campbell tells PEOPLE. “I was in the early stages of playing the banjo in one of the home movies shown in the video and was rehearsing with my dad before going out on tour with him. Now I watch it and it’s cool just to see him smiling over at me. For him to watch me finding my own way in music was a special bond between the two of us that never went away.”
And as the triple-threat singer, songwriter and banjo virtuoso continues to follow her musical dreams, it’s these vintage videos of her and her dad that she holds onto.
“Sometimes the simplest moments are the most beautiful,” she says. “It’s easy to get caught up in everything and shut out everything around you, but you must remember to not only love the moment you are in, but love the people that are in the moment with you.”