Justin Ashar is a Canadian-born artist of Indian descent. He gained viral exposure on Facebook for playing covers of famous pop songs using an Indian instrument called a harmonium in 2016. His most popular cover to date has been of Drake’s “Hotline Bling” with 1.1 million views on Facebook.
By mid-2017, BINA®️ Musical Stores, known worldwide for their Indian harmoniums, sponsored Justin and designed him a custom instrument for his future projects. In early 2018, Justin started Pug Life Records®️, an exclusive music label dedicated for South Asian artists around the globe to connect and collaborate. He saw a lot of talent across the world, but he found many of these artists never had a platform to put out their music. Justin’s concept was to create an artistic collective and community to showcase how when artists work together, they can accomplish big things. He signed Shobhit Banwait, a legendary tabla player from Toronto, Canada, to his label shortly afterwards.
Justin then transformed from an artist to an executive producer and now oversees all projects released through his label. By 2019, Pug Life Records®️ partnered up with Speed Records®️, an Indian music label, to release an official tabla remix to the Doorbeen’s viral hit “Lamberghini.” The music video featured Shobhit Banwait and was uploaded to Speed Records’ YouTube channel with 30-million subscribers.
The idea of the label started catching on, and more Indian artists started joining the label across the world. Most recently, Neil Sethi, also known as AIR APPARENT, an Indian producer based out of San Francisco, California, joined Pug Life Records®️ and released his EP entitled “Color Dreams” to much success. Within a few weeks, the album was streamed over 100K times on Spotify. Pug Life Records®️ then partnered with Kung Fu Tea®️, a global bubble tea chain, to release AIR APPARENT’s official video for “Sorry.” Justin flew to Los Angeles to oversee the entire operation and even made a cameo appearance in the video with AIR APPARENT where they actually met in person for the first time.