Melbourne-based singer and songwriter ASHWARYA creates the kind of music that scratches an itch on your brain – especially when listening through headphones, like many of her fans do, while scrolling on TikTok.
In her recent videos, she’s been promoting snippets of her latest ‘perfect late night sad pop ballads’. It’s Billie Eilish meets BENEE, but with her own unique storytelling.
“My music is hard hitting, eclectic and emotive at its core,” ASHWARYA describes. Her sound is influenced by early 2000’s pop and hip hop and Bollywood music. “Currently I’ve been bumping to a lot of Labrinth, Rosalía and 070 Shake amongst many.”
Like many young artists on TikTok, ASHWARYA started her journey during COVID-19 lockdowns. The platform provided an escape from Melbourne’s closed venues and studios, and gave her a chance to connect online.
“I was able to find new audiences, which was so exciting as a new artist and no ability to play live shows,” she says. “TikTok’s LIVE feature really gave me a space to showcase my music and connect on a personal level.”
Since then, she’s gone on to play for fans IRL while supporting Dua Lipa at her Melbourne Palais Theatre Show and even had her music picked up for shows on Netflix and HBO MAX.
Now, ASHWARYA is returning to her roots on TikTok LIVE, as one of five artists each performing three live digital shows across September, October and November, called Sunset Sessions.
“I find it really intimate playing LIVE on TikTok and seeing people engage with me,” she says.
The chat functionality of TikTok LIVE is what excites her most, which allows her to converse and interact with the audience while playing. It’s a unique way for fans and artists to have first-hand conversations.
“It’s almost like a performance behind the curtains,” ASHWARYA explains.
“I can freely engage with people without worrying too much about sticking to a set agenda. That’s the beauty of doing LIVEs, that it can head in any direction.”
While free to go where inspiration strikes, the singer promises to play audiences her newly released song, “Up in my Head”, which she collaborated on with music producer Sam Sakr via Zoom.
“It was the first time we connected and within an hour we had pretty much the foundation of the song. Moments like that don’t come everyday in songwriting,” she says.
“I love playing this song live and of course will be part of the Sunset Sessions.”
‘Up in my Head’ is just one song on ASHWARYA’s upcoming EP, Why’s It Gotta Hurt’– an intimate collection of tracks chronicling a real heartbreak. When asked about, ASHWARYA is vulnerable and honest.
“I wanted the production to contrast with the lyrics, which are focused on the end of a relationship with someone and the lingering feelings involved, as well as the lasting loyalty I’ll always have towards them,” she explains.
It’s this rawness fans can expect more of when she takes the digital stage for TikTok’s LIVE Sunset Sessions and beyond, with plans to take her debut EP on tour for her first headline shows in Melbourne and Sydney. Tickets for the IRL shows are available via the singer’s social media.
“Building out this world of ASHWARYA has been such an incredible process and I can’t wait to bring along people for the journey.”
Catch @ASHWARYA next LIVE Sunset Sessions on TikTok on September 24th, 5pm AEST and October 29th, 5pm AEDT.
Tune in for other talented artists going LIVE throughout September, October and November.