- Words Jordyn Halpern
- Photography Gadir Rajab
Translating ferocity into sonic bliss, Notion chats with music’s brightest rising star, ASHWARYA, who is taking her music to new heights.
The mind of ASHWARYA is a contagious labyrinth of neon colors and electrifying beats. The 21-year-old Melbourne native is disrupting the pop industry like a sonic tidal wave–and we can’t help but succumb to its trenches.
Having just released her debut EP ‘NOCTURNAL HOURS’ on July 8th, fans have finally gotten a taste of one of music’s rising stars. The 6-track collective puts the singer on the map as a musical shapeshifter able to blend genres so seamlessly she’s almost undefinable. If anything, ASHWARYA has created a customized world all her own. ‘NOCTURNAL HOURS’ is uniquely positioned to teleport its listeners into her tech-inspired atmosphere.
Her fierceness serving as the driving force towards inevitable successes, the songstress was quick to use 4 out of the 6 EP tracks as promotional singles [“PSYCHO HOLE,” “BIRYANI,” “COMIN@ME,” and “TO THE NIGHT (feat. Vic Mensa)”]. The unconventional tactics proved immediately lucrative, having already amassed total streaming numbers into the multi-millions. Well aware of her creative power, the ‘NOCTURNAL HOURS’ premiere came accompanied with a one-shot visual to the evocative ballad “LOVE AGAIN.” Heavily influenced by color and striking architecture, the poignant production fits into the same universe as the graphic roster of surrealist and modernist projects she’s solidified as an artist.
Considering her discography, the massive number of achievements ASHWARYA delivered since her first drop over one year ago is incredibly gratifying. Each piece of content became part of a puzzle that finally culminated into ‘NOCTURNAL HOURS’ as a long-awaited body of work. She built the hype, grew the tension, and now we can dance the night away. In all fairness, it makes the listening experience that much better.
With confidence as bright as the signature vivid red accents in her hair, it’s really no surprise the world is undergoing an ASHWARYA takeover. She’s the ultimate cool girl with a stellar sense of fashion and a voice like velvet to match. The blueprint for talent in its purest form, an EP drop is a perfect tease to her assured thriving future. In her own words, when people see the name ‘ASHWARYA,’ she hopes they think, “Dang she makes dope shit.” Eager to explore her methods behind the madness, Notion caught up with the virtuoso to discover the workings of her musical gifts.
As an artist with Indian heritage, how does your background inspire you sonically? I feel like there are totally some Bollywood-esque vibes that shine through in your music!
Yeah for sure. I think it’s a lot more subconscious than intentional. When I’m writing or listening to music I often start to find correlations or sounds that take me back to a Bollywood song I’ve heard. I think in a lot of ways musical sounds overlap across so many regions of the world. It’s an exciting time to be a part of that.
Who did you listen to when you were younger that may have influenced your sound or music-making process today?
Rihanna, Kanye, Queen, Adele, Drake and too many others to name!
As a whole, your music has truly shaken up the “pop” market in the best way possible. So many artists love to follow formulas that they know will stereotypically make hits, but what is it about genre-bending that feels so special?
I think the crux of genre-blending for me is the pure excitement i get out of writing music that combines different sounds and tempos. Jarrad Rogers, who’s produced all of my songs so far, is a master of melding different sounds and he’s been able to take some of the craziest ideas and sonically bring them to life in the coolest way. Our sessions are always exciting.
“To The Night (feat. Vic Mensa)” was your first single of 2021 which marked a bit of a darker sound for you as an artist. What drew you to that shift in sound? Can we expect more of it?
I think more than sound it marked a shift in my overall growth as an artist. It’s the type of song and sound that I was longing to make and when it was finished it felt like I was moving in the right direction whilst taking everything I already know and love. You can definitely expect more tempo changes!
You described the track as a “main character anthem” that’s about “feeling empowered and taking charge of your decisions and actions.” How do you get into the headspace to write such a strong, meaningful song?
I was in a completely opposite headspace at the time of writing the song so I was looking to write something that would make me feel empowered. It’s therapeutic in a sense, to write about something in order to lift yourself up when you feel otherwise.
I’m sure working with Vic Mensa was an amazing experience! What was that like for you? What did you learn from him?
I’m very grateful to have Vic on the track. His ability to deliver a message so effortlessly and speak his truth is really inspiring. It allows us to connect with him on a level greater than just music which is epic. He’s a real one.
There was a beautiful tech-inspired visual created to go along with the track. It felt like a movie! What pulls you into that atmosphere? Where did that energy come from?
I wanted to have this world that felt almost detached from reality for a moment. I think considering everything that our world is going through right now the concept felt like a nice metaphor for the song’s message. I was lucky to have Emile Frederick, directing the video, and Ruben Fro, who digitally created the universe to make everything come to life.
It’s more than clear you’ve stepped into an incredibly powerful, confident era! With your debut EP ‘NOCTURNAL HOURS’ just dropped, what do you hope people get out of their listen? Is there a specific message or feeling you’d want people to take away from the project?
The EP feels like a compilation of who I am and how I perceive my experiences into my music. I think it balances out vulnerability with power and how it can be used as a strength to overcome obstacles. “PSYCHO HOLE” initiated that message and then the themes followed through into the rest of the EP. In the end, I really hope people can connect to the EP, that’s all that really matters to me.
Given the namesake of the EP, is it safe to say you did most of your creating during hours of the night? Is that when you usually work best?
A lot of my ideas and thoughts are louder during the night. I think it’s a pretty normal thing for a lot of us to have our minds racing around that time and so I’ve tried to overcome any anxieties or past experiences into creative ones. Night time is also just way more interesting.
Music is merely one part of your identity – how does fashion tie into your creation process? Does it at all?
Fashion plays a pretty huge role in how I express myself, not only creatively but also just how I’m feeling on the day. I think it can be a really powerful way to reflect your mood but also how to hide your emotions too. I make music for the same so it goes pretty hand in hand.
What do you wear to feel the most confidence on stage? Your ‘go-to outfit’ as some may say.
I’m always on the hunt for really comfy and dope pants because I move around a lot on stage so I need me some room!
You’re hitting the road this July to support the release of your EP–super exciting! What can fans expect out of your sets?
I think with the tempo changes and varied tones and moods in the EP, hearing it live will hit different. I’ve been waiting so long for this and I can’t wait to see people experience it for the first time!
Let’s end on a creative note! If you could describe ‘NOCTURNAL HOURS’ as a drink, what would it be? A straight shot of tequila? A cup of black coffee? Something completely custom? Anything goes!
Would have to be a drink called Yuzushu – refreshing, makes you the life of the party and perhaps in your feelings later.