Empowering New Single “Ash + Bone” Confronts Gender Inequality In The Music Industry

Artists Ajeet, Sukhmani, and Aisling Urwin come together to create a captivating display of unity and empowerment in their exclusively female-made track “Ash + Bone” out now. Made by women for women, this track encourages females to embrace their inner wildness, and in doing so, to feel free, alive, and powerful. Written by Ajeet, Sukhmani, and Aisling Urwin, the trio combined their talents to create “Ash + Bone.” 

Each lends their pristine vocals to decadent three part harmony; Sukhmani finds the heartbeat of the track with her clever percussion, while Urwin and Ajeet embellish the track with vibrant harmony from the harp and guitar. Ajeet – a renowned producer and multi-instrumentalist – produced and engineered this project, and engineer Piper Payne mastered the final product. “Ash + Bone” is a breezy acoustic track caressed by a colorfully kaleidoscopic soundscape. All three artists bring their own unique international musical perspective and experience into this sonic masterpiece.

Sukhmani was born into a Punjabi immigrant family in the United Kingdom, and grew up in Leeds where she was surrounded by the sounds of her Punjabi Sikh family, the Afro Caribbean community, and the city’s thriving music scene. She brings her rare understanding of rhythm and percussion to her own music, delivering sultry vocals over deep, driving beats. As one of the world’s few female tabla prodigies, she has toured and recorded as a percussionist for years, playing on stage at the 2019 Grammy Awards.

She told us how the message behind this track was important to her as the music industry can be an intimidating place for anyone, but is known to be a particularly challenging place for women to find equality.

“What makes this song even more special is that so many incredible women helped bring it to life. Ajeet, Aisling, and I, sang and were responsible for most of the instrumentation, it has an all female production team, and was released under a woman owned record label. It is a step in the direction of making such things the norm, and not the anomaly.”

Ajeet’s music has been featured multiple times at #1 on the iTunes World Music Chart and Billboard Top 10 New Age Chart. Drawing on the folk traditions of her own Irish background, and of her nomadic life gathering songs, her concerts and recordings are intended to offer an experience of healing and connection to the listener.

Ajeet outlines how a lot of the gender bias that is rampant throughout the industry sometimes happens subconsciously, and how people in key positions making conscious changes is what is needed.

“When I started doing production work I loved it immediately and wondered why I hadn’t gotten into it sooner. As a young recording artist, I realized it was because I had never seen a female engineer, and therefore carried some unconscious belief that it wasn’t available to me. I love to see that changing, and to be in the engineer’s role myself and offer my best to this incredible industry. When I get a chance to work on a song like “Ash + Bone” I realize how rare what we’re doing really is,” she said.

Aisling Urwin is a harper & songwriter from Kenmare in the South West of Ireland. With a background in Irish Traditional Music, Aisling strives to paint the harp in new colours, challenging traditional views in an effort to stretch people’s preconceptions of what the harp should sound like, taking it into new sonic spaces.

“It is crazy that we are still at a stage where women are not taken as seriously and that we are still in this place of inequality. We must strive to lift each other up, rise above it and pave the way for equality,” she said about addressing gender inequality in Ash+Bone.

A unicorn in the music industry, putting together an all female production team – from songwriters, to administrative roles – is an inherently difficult task (not to mention accounting for the limitations imposed on everyone during the pandemic). It is no secret that the music industry is male-dominated in every sector; The USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative found from 2019 to 2020, that female singers decreased from 22.5% to 20.2%, female songwriters decreased from 14.4% to 12.9%, and female producers declined from 5% to just 2%.

The proportion of males in administrative roles drastically outweighs females, as well. Having experienced the oppressive barriers to women in music first hand, producer and artist Ajeet took it upon herself to make a powerful statement answering to the unfairness she has dealt with throughout her career. She came up with the idea for “Ash + Bone,” and created a masterpiece with a critical message in collaboration with an unshakable team of remarkable females (in every role).

“To collaborate with two other female artists, having my opinions and skill as a producer recognized and respected, and all by a female label head who is conscious of the imbalances we are all far too used to experiencing. I’d love for a group of women making music to be a common occurrence,” said Ajeet.

The team behind this project is hopeful for GRAMMY consideration for Best American Roots Performance + Best American Roots Song.

Additional credits include:

Karan Khalsa (she / her) – Owner – Spirit Voyage Records

Elana Kaufman (she/her) – Manager – Ajeet Music

Livia Tortella (she/her) – Owner – Black Box

Gabylu Alcántara (she/her) – Project Manager – Spirit Voyage Records

Emma Groff (she/her) – Director of Marketing – Spirit Voyage Records

Devyn Neidert (she/her) – Marketing Account Manager – Black Box

Stream “Ash + Bone” on all major streaming platforms out now. Watch the lyric video for ‘Ash + Bone’ below:

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