Keeping up with Avneesha Martins

The 28-year-old singer and social media personality talks diversity, TikTok, and her exciting new single.

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With over 1.8 million followers on TikTok (and still counting), Avneesha Martins is quickly becoming a familiar name among South Asian Australians. Her videos feature the self-deprecating, millennial humour we know and love, though it’s probably got older generations scratching their heads in confusion.

One video’s about listening to sad music when you’re sad to feel sadder… except your mum keeps interrupting you.

Another video tackles the desi parent’s penchant for home remedies to cure even the tiniest of sniffles.

In one amusing take on everyday life, Avneesha discusses the classic Apple vs Android feud, this time in song.

It’s probably no wonder then that she’s always hearing comparisons with fellow social media personality, YouTube’s Lilly Singh.

“I do get that a lot, she’s been a huge inspiration,” Avneesha laughed. “When I started out, I wanted to market myself as a musician, so my content was very focused on my music. But TikTok gave me the freedom to explore and show off different sides of my personality, like goofing around wearing a moustache!”

@avneesha_official did you do the steam thing too? 🥲 #avnfam ♬ original sound – avneesha

READ ALSO: ‘I’m an old soul’: in conversation with The Voice’s Janaki Easwar

The 28-year-old Canberra native, now based in Sydney, has amassed a massive social media following in just two years, assisted by her husband Jarrod Martins with filming and editing. Some of the best ideas come from everyday experiences, she said.

“I’ve got notebooks filled with random scribbles of ideas that I’ve gathered over the years. It’s really fulfilling to make this content and see how people react to it,” she explained. “Sometimes I’ll make a video on things I thought to be unique to me, like I once made a video about the amusing way my father brushes his teeth, and then comments flooded in with people sharing their own hilarious experiences with their parents.”

Avneesha’s career in performing and entertaining goes back to her early years. She recalls singing all throughout her childhood, including shabad kirtans at the Canberra Gurudwara. In 2018, she went on to join Australian pop girl group Mischief where she was able to “learn how the industry works.”

avneesha instagram
Source: Instagram

Now a solo artist, Avneesha describes her sound as a unique mix of R&B with an infusion of Bollywood and Punjabi. Her first Punjabi single, “Meri Jaan”, released only a couple of weeks ago, has already amassed more than 10,000 views.

“The Internet has become a great equaliser in allowing our content to reach many audiences. We’ve seen the massive success of artists like Tesher with ‘Jalebi Baby’ in the mainstream and it shows there’s room for a different kind of sound in the Western market,” Avneesha observed.

In defining her sound, she points to local talent like A.GIRL among some of her favourite musicians, along with international artists like Drake and The Weeknd. From India, she highlights AP Dhillon (“the production and styling of his music reminds me a lot of Drake,” she noted), Badshaah, Micky Singh, and upcoming musician Arvind Kywalya.

“We’re getting there bit by bit in terms of diversity, but it’s definitely important for us to fight for each other and boost each other up,” she smiled.

Last year, the TikTok star had the chance to co-host the TikTok Trending show on iHeartRadio alongside G Flip, Tannar, and Isaiah Firebrace.

READ ALSO: Melbourne musician Ashwarya is making her own rules

She’s recently joined Western Sydney’s new hip-hop/R&B youth radio station CADA to present her own show, Keeping Up with Avneesha.

“TikTok changed my life!” Avneesha said. “I really put myself out there and I’ve been getting these amazing opportunities to present events, work with brands, and share music. I’m so excited that we now have a specific radio station for hip-hop and R&B in Australia, it’s an amazing way to showcase all the incredible local talent here.”


Currently reading? Atomic Habits by James Clear

Currently watching? I love a good romcom! The last movie I watched was Marry Me starring Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson.

Currently listening to? Kanye West’s Donda 2 and Jack Harlow’s new album, Come Home the Kids Miss You

Advice for others trying to build a social media presence? Just do it! I know it’s scary on the outset, but it’s so worth it if you love what you’re doing. Stay persistent and consistent and it’ll work out.

READ ALSO: TikTok’s Jeremy Franco: embracing all our desi quirks

Rhea L Nath
Rhea L Nath
Rhea L Nath is a writer and editor based in Sydney. In 2022, she was named Young Journalist of the Year at the NSW Premier's Multicultural Communications Awards.

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