With their shared ethos of self-expression and bold choices, the creative energy between ASHWARYA and adidas Originals came as no surprise. The two advocate for a world where true artistic selves can be presented with no judgment — building a community where authenticity is honored and empowered.
ASHWARYA honed her creativity during the COVID-19 lockdowns in Melbourne, resulting in the 2020 release of her debut single “Psycho Hole.” Now tasked with the challenge of spreading her music to the world without setting foot outside of her house, the Indian-Australian artist turned this predicament into a career-building exercise and established her fanbase on TikTok. This fuelled the release of her debut EP, Nocturnal Hours, in 2021, which received comparisons to dark pop stars but with a unique twist. She combines her Indian heritage with her music, citing Bollywood as a big inspiration that can be evidently heard in her Hindi lyricism.
“The world of ASHWARYA is all the different alter egos of mine and the different characters that I want to put out, but they’re all essentially a part of me. There’s an element of a cinematic world in my music and I like to present my visuals in a cinematic way,” she says. ”I like to differentiate how people perceive me as ASHWARYA the artist versus me as an everyday human, or whatever people think I am on an everyday basis. I definitely step into character when I’m in artist mode.”
With her newest EP Why Has It Got To Hurt So Much, ASHWARYA grabs her listeners by the hand and takes them on a full journey of heartbreak and optimism as picks apart the sadness and despair with newfound messages of hope. “Letting go of the people that you love the most might be the best thing for you and you come out of it with a sense of peace,” she explains of the five-track project. “I like to storytell and contrast things, I don’t necessarily feel like it needs to be one specific thing.”
She believes that collaboration is key in pushing boundaries and she’s greatly inspired by her community, where she says there’s no such thing as too wild or outlandish. “It’s pretty magical when you find moments in the studio where you’re bouncing off one another,” she notes. “There’s an unspoken energy when you’re working with the right person, or you’re in the right setting, then catching those moments on the mic or in the studio, that’s the best way for me to write.” Just like at the start of her career, ASHWARYA doesn’t pay attention to any limits or parameters that are traditionally placed for pop stars like her. Her ideal creative environment is one that can be explored endlessly.
She states, “I’m really big on who I work with and when I have people around me that are allowed to be as wild and crazy with their ideas, we can say or do whatever, nothing is too outrageous and nothing is too crazy, that’s a really good environment to be in. You end up with a product where you know there were no short measures and everyone was allowed to be free with whatever they do.”
The art of collaboration is a major part of ASHWARYA’s creative process, but this open attitude to inspiration extends to all aspects of her life. She’s regularly in awe of the people around her and her creative community, “Finding [other] creatives that have a completely different taste or approach and being able to collaborate in a way where there’s no ego, there’s no ‘no’, and everyone is open to being expressive, I think that’s really important.” She adds, “For me personally, when I’m writing or I’m coming up with an idea for a video, or picking out an outfit to wear for a shoot, it’s always great to allow others to step into my world and bounce off one another.”
From building her community online to playing Groovin The Moo and Field Day and being the last-minute opener for Dua Lipa‘s show in Melbourne, ASHWARYA’s hit so many milestones in her early career that it’s allowed her to connect to new audiences and inspire new fans. She wants to empower her community, and remind them to embrace their uniqueness and express themselves authentically — and she leads by example regardless of whether it’s her fashion choices, artistic collaborations or social media presence. “I feel like I’m quite a closed person in general, so when I get to be free and artistic, that’s my outlet. I get to learn more about myself,” she shares. “Artists, or at least me personally, don’t get to sit with our emotions because it’s so full on and you’re constantly thinking. So when you have a piece of art you can look back on, you realise that’s how you were perceiving the world around you in that moment.”
“I try to build a world around the music and let other people step into that little world of mine through storytelling, through the way I dress and the way I speak,” she continues. “It’s all part of that world.”
adidas Originals celebrates timeless pioneers and effortless originality. They gave the world an original and received a thousand back, like ASHWARYA. Shop adidas Originals here.