Punjabi Australian Singer Avneesha Sets The Bar High With New English-Hindi Fusion Music

Exposure to Indian pop culture, combined with her long-time passion for music has driven Avneesha Martins to release her new single, Can I Call You?, which features a mixture of Hindi and English lyrics.

Whether it was singing with her dad at the local Gurdwara, learning to play tabla, or watching Hindi films, Avneesha Martins says South Asian music was always a big part of her life growing up in a Punjabi household.

"I grew up on Bollywood," the 29-year-old told Draw Your Box. "I literally grew up watching some of my favourite old-time films from Three Idiots to Devdas and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham."

It's this exposure to Indian pop culture, combined with her long-time passion for music, that's driven Avneesha to release her new single, Can I Call You?, which features a mixture of Hindi and English lyrics. Besides A.R. Rahman and The Pussycat Dolls' 2014 track Jai Ho, we've rarely heard Hindi-language music on Australian commercial radio. But since it was released a month ago, Avneesha's Desi-fusion track has played on breakfast radio and set the bar for more diverse music on our airwaves.

"I've had a lot of people message me being like, 'It was so cool to hear a Hindi song with the fusion on radio,'" she said.

It's not just the language that sets Avneesha's songs apart, but also the unique sounds and techniques she's adopted from Indian music.

"In Bollywood music, Desi pop and Punjabi music in general, the melodies are phenomenal, [as are] the quarter notes they use, and just the dynamic of the songs," she reflected. "Can I Call You was that perfect opportunity where it wasn't just about getting the Hindi lyrics and the English fusion, but also the melodies and trying to figure out in the vocal chops in the song how to create that dynamic that's a bit nostalgic for people like me."

Through this beautiful mix of language and sounds, Avneesha hopes other young children of immigrants will connect with their various cultures.

"You can draw your culture in there. Plus, obviously I'm Australian as well, so to have both worlds combined was really important to me."

While Avneesha's solo music career is relevantly young, she's been in the music game for many years as she was previously part of Aussie pop girl group, Mischief who released their debut EP in 2017. During her time in the biz, she's noticed that the Australian music scene is significantly behind global counterparts in terms of South Asian diversity and representation. While there are local artists pursuing musical projects, they aren't necessarily being given as great of a public platform to showcase their talent.

"With Australia, there is this market gap... don't get me wrong, there are people doing incredible things. There's some amazing Punjabi rappers, Hindi rappers and also singers and artists," she explained.

"But I find that in the UK, Canada and the US, people are doing this fusion mix music and it's so beautiful. You see it with Spanish music as well and in different languages. We should have this here in Australia more. With every language, I would love to see this fusion, because there's so many of us and we're all from all over the world.

"We all have different cultures that we're inspired by and that we've grown up with, and you should mix it and make art out of it. I think it's like the coolest thing ever."

Having now released her new song and music video, directed by her husband Jarrod Martins, Avneesha's focus for the rest of 2023 is her music career and role as a radio host on CADA's breakfast show, Kian & Yaz with Avneesha. She'll also continue posting skits and entertaining videos on her popular TikTok account which has over two million followers, but more time will definitely be spent behind the mic.

"I kind of decided my focus has to be on the radio and music and nothing else," she said. "Even though I love acting and I love doing all this other stuff, it's not that I can't do it, It's [just I'll do it more] down the track."

Needless to say, this is not the last we'll be seeing of Avneesha. You can check out her Instagram here, and TikTok here.