TREMORS// Ash Lune is the Australian-Indian artist making sugary pop hits

Every month //TREMORS// spotlights a new artist sending waves through the music scene. This month, we talk to singer-songwriter Ash Lune, whose tumultuous path into music began by sliding into someone's DMs.

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Singer-songwriter Ash Lune is a Lana Stan. Holding her arm up in front of the Zoom camera from her home in Brisbane, she shows off a tattoo dedicated to Del Rey’s beautifully dark song ‘Video Games’. “They say that the world was built for two/ Only worth living if somebody is loving you/ Baby now you do“, is strewn in cursive across her arm. “It’s the most beautiful love song ever written”, she smiles.

To date, Ash Lune’s own ventures into music have seen her experiment both in her birthplace of India and current home of Australia. Now, ahead of the release of her still quite hush-hush second EP, she’s gearing up to take her dreamy piano-led, reflective pop melodies on tour around the UK. At age 24, she’s on a trajectory to rumble the pop industry, one sugar-coated song at a time.

With lyricism that delves into the niche and unanswered, Brisbane-based and Mumbai-born Ash Lune’s work is an exploration into the philosophical and personal realms of everyday life, dusted with a coating of saccharine, syrupy vocals and glossy production. Connecting with audiences across the globe, her music is a tonic for manoeuvring through life’s peaks and troughs. With a following of 68,000 on TikTok, she’s already amassing a loyal fanbase, receiving comments from listeners about the therapeutic qualities her music provides.  

At first listen, Ash Lune’s bubblegum pop melodies emit an innocence and lightheartedness but in reality much of her lyrical content dips into pools of hardship; often testing the waters of what it’s like to live with and manage mental health issues, particularly evident in her debut EP, ‘Broken Science Experiment’.

“To be honest, I don’t love writing about mental health issues”, Ash admits, “I’ve just had to struggle with [them] and I write primarily about myself and my own experiences. When it comes to my favourite subjects to write about, I only like writing about love as much as I love writing about my perspective of how I view the world. When [those ideas] come alive. I see that there’s humour and depth there and I like to add that little bit of poetry to my experiences and thoughts as I go through life. I did study philosophy for a very large part of my life so I view the world a little weirdly I guess.”

Studying for five years at college in India and a Master’s degree in Counselling at the University of Queensland ultimately helped develop her appreciation for a multitude of art forms; from literature and poetry to the perceptions of others. “Everybody views the world based on their own experiences – because experiences form a perception. How you view the world is directly based on how you’ve perceived the world in the past and how that’s worked out for you”, she considers, discussing the reality of nuance and bias. “Sometimes it really bothers me when people say, ‘Your song is like therapy to me’, because as a therapist I will tell you that music is only going to help you to a certain limit!”

As she explains the origins of the new EP, Lune reveals that ‘I’ll Always Want You’’ is a classic ballad that resulted from listening to Harry Styles’ ‘Sign of the Times’, 20 times in one day.” How could something beautiful be so small but so big at the same time?”, she says of the song. “Every song has its own influence and that’s what makes my EP – it’s based on different scenes of me in my head. And of course, ‘Loom’ is about sleep paralysis – I write about the strangest things and somehow people find them beautiful. All of these songs are ‘true’ in some way or another, most of them are quite literal and they show a lot more of my personality”, she reflects. “One of the songs in the second EP is exactly who I am. I would tell you, but I like to have people guess!”

Growing up in India until her late teens, access to western music at the time was closed off to anyone who wasn’t actively seeking it out. Lune’s brother, Ankiet Gulabani, was someone keen to hear new music, turning to TV show soundtracks such as The O.C. and One Tree Hill for discovery. Spending hours, sitting on her brother’s bed, listening to his finds, Lune has Seth Cohen to thank for her love of Death Cab for Cutie and Iron and Wine.

Not only was Lune’s interest in music crafted with her elder sibling through deep dives into the 2000s, but he was also integral to her vocal abilities, teaching her to sing as soon as she could talk, developing her own sense of style and direction. It’s a wider family affair too, as Lune’s grandmother taught her to play the piano and all family members are proficient in at least one instrument, she explains. 

‘Broken Science Experiment’ was a twinkly, bubblegum-pop, slower-paced record, which Lune aspired to install from early influences and roots, such as that of Lana Del Ray’s gentle, meandering instrumentation. This time around, she’s determined to showcase what she’s capable of as an artist. “When I started off I wanted everything to be perfect – as I think most debut artists do. But after some live acoustic sessions for [‘Broken Science Experiment’’s debut single] ‘Panic at the Party’, I was constantly told that if it has to be live, it has to sound live. You want to sound approachable, personable and intimate. I’ve always found my voice really weird, with its texture, but now I’ve got more comfortable with my sound and the way that I do my vocals, I try not to let that robotic perfectionism get in the way of what’s raw and equally beautiful.”

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Reflecting on her journey into music, she reveals a rather tumultuous path. Her first project was ultimately born through boredom while home alone. Amazingly, she presented her first track to the first producer she found and it began to build momentum online. “This was my shot! I thought.” But, as she began to reach out to labels with no avail, motivation waned and Lune decided to quit.

“When I was leaving for Australia, I’d written a lot of emails to Page 1 Management and other labels – but no one ever responded to me. And then, one fine day I had completely given up on music. I thought it wasn’t going to work out for me, so I gave it one last shot. I remember saying to my friends that if it doesn’t happen now it’s not meant to be and I’ll give up on music. I sent a DM on the Page 1 Management Instagram page. I got a response back!”

Lune reminisces, “I was freaking out because I didn’t have a mic or any studio equipment, nothing. That night I had to record on my iPhone mic in my bedroom. And, I did it! They got in touch and I was signed to my management. This doesn’t just happen to anyone. When the universe knocks on the door you don’t say no!” she laughs. “This is fate. I had to relearn everything I knew about music but I was absolutely right about my management; they nurtured me, taught me to write music and we took a good one and a half to two years just doing that.”

Originality and authenticity remain the foundations of Lune’s work going forward. Her honest, raw vocals glossed with polished instrumentals are a result of, and homage to, her idols Lana Del Ray, Lily Allen and The Weeknd. She considers future aspirations: is a career like Lana’s a goal? You know how everyone is always saying how Olivia Rodrigo is the next Avril Lavigne? Well, as much as I want to be the next me, instead of another artist, I want to take as much as I can from my influences like The Weeknd and Lana, and evolve that to the next level – giving a platform to show those roots to the rest of the world.” 

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