Asha Sing has a head for business — and a voice for radio.
The Indian-American singer, who started out in the choir while in high school at Westminster Academy, will be showing off her musical chops at the preshow Sunday for Y100’s Jingle Ball Village at the BB& T Center in Sunrise.
Later performances include fellow locals Ariana Grande, Jason Derulo and Jake Miller along with pop heavyweights Calvin Harris, Pharrell, Iggy Azalea, Meghan Trainor, Charli XCX, Jessie J, Becky G, Shawn Mendes and Nick Jonas.
Nervous? Not in the least. Asha Sing has got this, even though Jingle Ball is no doubt her biggest gig thus far.
Through talent, contacts and sheer perseverance, she was offered an album contract in her senior year of high school, but Asha went the nontraditional route for entertainers: She decided to pursue her studies, accepting a full scholarship at University of Miami’s Frost School of Music.
“Doing their music-business program was probably the best decision I could make for myself personally because I didn’t know the kind of artist I wanted to be,” said Asha, who graduated last year. “Those years shaped who I am.”
Also helping in the inspiration department was one of the world’s most famous crossover entertainers.
In the summer of 2010, a friend called saying backup singers were needed for the Premios Juventud Awards at the BankUnited Center.
“All I needed to hear was ‘paid gig’ as a broke college student,” said Asha, laughing. “We were told to learn the lyrics and dance to Waka Waka but didn’t know we’d actually be performing with Shakira until the day before the event.”
“I remember before singing [Gitana] she came down floating to the stage on a kind of magic carpet then did this belly dance routine. It was so Aladdin. Here she was this gorgeous, sexy singer and at that moment her culture defined her. Then it hit me, ‘Oh my gosh. This is what I want to do — I want to incorporate my Indian background into my artistry and really expand from that.’”
Asha was so inspired by Shak, she linked up with a producer and began to write songs. The result: two pop chart-meets-Bollywood singles, Mercy and then Satellite. Mercy reached No. 7 on the Billboard Hot Singles Chart last fall. She’ll perform those two at Jingle Ball, plus three covers by Rihanna (We Found Love), Taylor Swift (Shake It off) and Beyonce (End of Time).
Asha’s passion for music goes beyond singing and songwriting, she also works to inspire other young people as part of her Be Unique Tour. She tours schools in Dade and Broward counties sharing her story and stressing the importance of music education.
“Maybe getting a degree isn’t for everyone. Maybe you’re a Taylor Swift, and that’s OK. By all means, grab at any opportunity. But I have a more realistic approach. I tell them how I was in chorus and how it impacted and changed me. The interaction with these kids has been really cool.
“To all the teachers out there: Invite me to your schools!”
Asha launches her second school tour in January 2015. More info: www.AshaSing.com