There’s never been a better time to listen local; our very own home-grown artists like Tame Impala, Amyl and the Sniffers, and Troye Sivan are making it big overseas.
Recently, songs by our very own ARIA-nominated trailblazing Aussie desi musician Parvyn of The Bombay Royale fame was featured in Nida Manzoor’s latest film Polite Society, a huge moment of Hollywood representation for local music. After years of watching our non-desi peers achieve great heights, a new generation of South Asian Australians are carving their way into the music scene and bringing the heat to dominate the charts!
If you want to spice up your Spotify and support some emerging Aussie desi musicians, check out these six artists right now:
Hailing from Meanjin (Brisbane) 24-year-old Ash Lune makes melodic, piano-led Indie Pop. Her serene, breezy voice draws inspiration from the soft, expressive tones of Lana Del Ray and Billie Eilish, taking listeners back to an era of timeless romantic ballads, whilst also reflecting on our generation’s anxieties. Born in Mumbai, India, Ash Lune grew up in a very musical family, and living in India has shaped her melody making, her song ‘Bombay’ a nod to these roots. She’s since gone on to win Triple J Unearthed’s ‘BIGSOUND’ competition, where she played her first ever live set in September last year!
Sounds like: Lana Del Ray, Billie Eilish
This three-piece band from Naarm (Melbourne) make what they describe as ‘serpentine psychedelia’, a hypnotic Psychedelic/Prog band blending cyclical riffs and 70’s style synths. To top it all off, they only ever appear in bejewelled full-face masks created by a Russian jeweller, like something out of a science fiction film, so we have no idea who they even are! Glass Beams’ have said their sound has been inspired by the ‘70s-era Indian Disco they found whilst exploring music from their father’s hometown in India. They’ve entranced the stages of WOMAD and Strawberry Fields, and have even been recognised all the way across the pond on BBC6’s ‘Fantastic Beats’ segment.
Sounds like: Tame Impala, Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Naarm (Melbourne) based Meghna wants to welcome you to ‘her universe’ of genre-defying Hip-Hop and Experimental Pop. In Sanskrit, Meghna means ‘the one who walks on clouds’, but her introspective lyrics are totally down-to-earth, and she’s inspired by her Bengali and Tamil background to draw attention to society’s untold stories. Her sound draws influence from Travis Scott, Post Malone, and Raja Kumari, laden with trap-style percussion and bouncing bass hits. Recently, she collaborated with luxury French Japanese brand Maison Kitsune, releasing ‘Hypnotising’ under their Kitsune Musique label, a world-renowned launching pad for artists.
Sounds like: Travis Scott, Raja Kumari
GURPAAL is the new project of Meanjin (Brisbane) based electronic producer Gurpaal Bains, a genre-defying blend of dark electronica, trance, house and synth-pop. The sonic world he creates teeters between euphoric dance floor moments and brooding introspection, and his past tracks have seen him collaborate with musicians whom he’s met from his time running Little Street Studio, a recording facility in Fortitude Valley. He’s even gained praise from giants like RÜFÜS DU SOL and Golden Features, two artists whom you can hear the influence of in his latest ep, Magnify.
Sounds like: RÜFÜS DU SOL, Golden Features
Naarm’s (Melbourne) very own ASHWARYA delivers all the looks and impact of her Bollywood namesake with her brand of angelic vocals and dark, dramatic pop bangers. It’s hard not to see the influence growing up around old Bollywood films has had on her, and the show stopping spectacle of this era is visible in everything from her stage presence to classical instrument fused beats. Her single ‘Biryani’ which has over 1.4 million streams on Spotify features lyrics in both Hindi and English and leaps nimbly between two time signatures, whilst ‘Love Again’ shows us a delicate, intimate side to her persona.
Sounds like: Sycco, Melanie Martinez
Eora country (Sydney) has a desi new name in Aussie country music, and Kiara Rodrigues brings a unique spin as a musician with her soulful, guitar-led tracks. Kiara blends the dulcet tones of Dolly Parton inspired vocals with the song-writing sensibilities of Kacey Musgrave, and is a powerful trailblazer in a white, male-dominated genre. She’s even played at NRL games, and three of her singles debuted in the top five of the Australian Country iTunes Charts.
Sounds like: Dolly Parton, Kacey Musgrave