Asha Puthli is one of the most successful vocalists ever to come out of India. Perhaps best known for her stirring vocals on free jazz legend Ornette Coleman’s Science Fiction album, Asha is a cosmopolitan pioneer of jazz, funk, soul and electronic dance music who has recorded ten solo albums for labels like EMI and CBS/Sony.
Trained in Indian classical singing and a natural jazz improviser, Asha Puthli created her own unique sound in the 1970s – soft, slinky, sexy, meditative, and chilled out. Captured on classic recordings like “Space Talk” and “Say Yes,” that distinctively cool sound prefigured the entire rise of acid jazz and ambient dance music. Today, as Asha Puthli prepares to release new material, her songs are being rediscovered by legions of hip-hop, neo-soul, nu-jazz, and electronica fans.
Born and raised in Bombay, Asha emigrated to the United States to pursue jazz. Upon her arrival, Asha was championed by Columbia Records impresario John Hammond, who had forged a brilliant career discovering acts like Billie Holiday, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.
During the 1970s, Asha also branched out into films, starring in lead roles in movies by Louis Malle, Merchant-Ivory and Bruno Corbucci. Her cosmopolitan sense of glamour rocketed her to visibility as a fashion icon.
The new millennium saw Asha re-emerge as an in-demand guest artist on the electronica circuit. Like her mentor Ornette Coleman, Asha Puthli has always been ahead of her time, and now, thirty-five years after her debut, she is finally taking her rightful place in the pantheon of jazz legends and fusion trailblazers. There’s a laundry list of artists who traded in their artistic vision in exchange for mainstream visibility. But Asha has forged a unique path ahead by steadfastly holding on to her freedom.