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A year since her debut, Ashwarya’s future is blindingly bright

Words by Tina Summers

It’s been 12 months of critical acclaim for the Melbourne artist.

It’s been just one year since Melbourne’s rising star Ashwarya released her addictive debut single ‘Psycho Hole’, and a year since we conducted the budding pop star’s first-ever interview. Since then, she’s had us hooked with singles ‘To the Night’ (ft Vic Mensa), ‘Biryani’ and ‘Comin @ Me’, all of which have come out with mind-bending videos, garnering her critical praise while proving her future is blindingly bright.

She’s just released her debut EP Nocturnal Hours to growing acclaim (and the delight of my own ears). One year on, we caught up with her to hear about the year the world met Ashwarya.


Looking for more music-centric content? Try our Music section.


You did your first ever interview for Fashion Journal one year ago, with the release of ‘Psycho Hole’. How has your life changed since then? 

I think I’ve just grown a lot as a person and have become a lot more secure in my artistry, so it’s a lot more of a mental change than a physical life change. Physically, I feel like it’s deja vu because we’re back in a lockdown one year later and I’m still making stuff in my bedroom, haha.

Are there any things you spoke about in that interview where you feel differently a year later? 

I think I was trying to adapt to being an artist through the uncertainty of the pandemic last year and although I’m in a lockdown again one year later, I’m a lot more agile in the way I approach my creative process.

You’ve had so much support from radio and different creatives and magazines since then. Do you feel like the music and fashion industries have embraced you? At what point did you feel like “Omg, this is nuts!”? 

Yeah, it’s definitely surreal to be able to have that kind of support so early on. I think when I was featured in Paper I was a bit like ‘Woah, so this is real’.

What is the difference between working with people in music and people in fashion? 

Hmm, that’s a really interesting question because I seem to draw more similarities than differences. But I think when I’m working with people in fashion, it’s a lot easier to understand and communicate what works and what doesn’t work early on, since everything is visual. Whereas with music, it goes a little deeper than just the exterior. You really need to understand who the person is you’re working with to get the best out of the song, as well as open up to them about who you are and what you want to express sonically.

Can you tell us a little about the themes on your debut EP, Nocturnal House? 

Nocturnal Hours reflects on the varied thoughts and emotions I’ve experienced. It explores the vulnerable moments and the darkness that can come with these, but also how those can be used as a strength to move forward and take control. This EP speaks to the type of artist I am, someone who likes to meld different sounds… hopefully it shows the different sides to who I am as an artist. 

How has the response been? 

It’s been really humbling. I personally love hearing about how other people perceive my songs or visuals. It just adds more depth and layers to the music, and makes it so much more intriguing than just how I had intended to make meaning of my own music.

 

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Do you have a track on the EP that’s closest to your heart? 

Probably ‘Love Again’ because of how vulnerable I was while writing and tracking vocals. I think we only did one to two takes and ended up using it because we wanted to capture that initial rawness of the song.

What song from the EP is most fun to perform live? 

‘Psycho Hole’! Man, that song is so fun to perform live. When I was performing it recently at my Melbourne shows, I was getting sad that the song was ending!! It hits different live.

You worked with Vic Mensa on ‘To the Night’. What was that experience like? 

Working with Vic was such a cool opportunity because I was able to see how he was able to bring his own unique sound and lyricism to the song. It would not be the same song without his flair!

What’s your songwriting process? Do you find it easier working alone or collaboratively?

I’m a really visual person, so sometimes I’ll imagine a setting in my head and take inspiration from that to write. Other times I’ll improvise ’til I find the right direction for the song, which is probably my favourite way of songwriting, when it comes together. I find that my songs work best when they’re created in the moment. I love collaborating with others – especially when we have built a relationship and understand one another and our sound. There’s no better feeling because then, the process can be super transparent and smooth.

What’s your dream collab?

I’d love to be able to work with Labrinth!

What are your dreams for the future?

To have my own fashion line.

One thing nobody knows about you?

I sometimes do mediocre impressions of cartoon characters at dinner parties for my own entertainment.

Get to know Ashwarya a little better here.

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