Bashiri Asad
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Bashiri Asad

Indianapolis, Indiana, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2010

Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Established on Jan, 2010
Solo R&B Soul




"Bashiri Asad interview for"

The city of Indianapolis, Indiana has given birth to some of the greatest musicians in history. Babyface, JJ Johnson, and Wess Montgomery all have their roots grounded in the city mostly known for the Indianapolis 500 Speedway and IU basketball. One new artist who has emerged as “The Everyday Soul Singer” is Bashiri Asad. His message of peace, love, and music for the people has made him one of the most recognized artists in Indianapolis. Bashiri has even created a buzz on the east coast from small tours that he’s done over the past two years. - AfroPunk

"Bashiri Asad L.T.D Album review"

Bashiri Asad was living the life of a cover artist when he heard the words that changed the direction of his career. The Indianapolis based singer was between sets when a fan suggested that he sing original songs because listeners would take him more seriously.
Asad could have ignored that advice because there’s a line of thinking that vocalists performing anything from the Motown catalog will always have work. Asad, bless his soul, decided to take that bit of unsolicited advice and write original tunes. He has since released three projects, including last year’s EP The Space Between and his latest, Living the Dream.
We know that mainstream artists have tools available to them that can make the life of a recording artist somewhat less challenging than that faced by the indie artist. However, Asad wanted the creative and topical autonomy that comes with not being under contract with a label. And he puts that autonomy to good use on Living the Dream.
Asad takes his music to places where mainstream R&B artists rarely tread these days. “Monster” serves up a sociological evaluation of pain and deprivation that leads many young men to lives of violent crime. The upshot is that everything from parental mistakes to economic displacement to a poor educational system plays a hand in “creating another monster.” There are some who will not agree with the musical conclusion Asad makes on “Monster.” However, art at some point should compel us to seek answers to difficult questions.
Asad showplaces his storytelling abilities on “Longest Moment,” which tells the tale of the instant that spotting a lady in a club transforms a routine night on the town into something far more consequential. The next track “Dance With You,” a duet with Shinda Ewell, is a sequel moving the couple from the bar where they exchanged glances and hellos to the dance floor. Asad noted in several interviews that he grew up on the music of 1970s and 80s era artists such as Donny Hathaway and Luther Vandross. “Dance With You” captures the sweet vocals, catchy melodies and romance that listeners of that time took for granted. The track has the feel of a Spinners tune.
Asad takes his listeners from the dance floor to the church house on the gospel influenced “Looking Back,” a high spirited track in which the vocalist longs for a time when the community seemed more connected. He also manages to reach back with a sense of nostalgia and regret for a totally different reason on “Broken,” a torch song in which the vocalist expresses his sole desire to reset the clock and repair a damaged relationship.
Bashiri Asad states that he wants to make you think and have some fun. He gets a truth in advertising star because Living The Dream makes you think and gets you on the dance floor for a little hip shaking some belly rubbing. And if Asad gets an A for effort, Living The Dream is a well-rounded project that deserves an A+ for results. Highly Recommended.
By Howard Dukes - Howard Dukes from

"Bashiri Asad - The Way We Are (2019)"

Bashiri Asad - The Way We Are
Bashiri Asad seeks to create music that will be the soundtrack of his life, as well as the lives of his listeners. A black family man and Midwesterner, Asad is a veteran of the Indy and indie music scenes. The soundtrack of his life features artists such as Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire and Mint Condition – groups and individuals that created a rich and distinct sound driven by musicians playing instruments.

Asad’s projects possess a rich organic sound that comes from working with a band. That band, the Indianapolis based group called Be On It, features C.J. Garfield on the keyboard, Jesse Thompson on bass, Terry Adams on auxiliary keys/organ, and Joe Elliot III on drums. Be On It backed Asad on his excellent 2017 album A Girl Named Charlie, a record inspired by his wife whose nickname is Charlie, and is back on his latest project, The Way We Are.

The Way We Are includes ten original tunes and a cover of the Isley Brothers’ “Harvest For The World. Asad opts for a straight forward cover of the Isley classic, only switching it up by including a rapped verse. Still, that song fits in with what Asad seeks to achieve throughout The Way We Are. The record is about love in its broadest definitions. Romantic love yes, but also love of life, love in the midst of struggle, love of humanity and cautionary tales about predators who use love to trap their prey.

Asad is a disciplined singer who works well with his band. He knows when the pull back and give a tune a conversational vibe that opens space for Be On It to infuse Afro-Caribbean percussion and jazz flourishes - including improvisation from saxophonist Jerome Sloss - into the mid-tempo ballad “Transparency.” Asad can then turn around and mix his voice into an aggressive, forward leaning weapon on “I Am,” where his vocals mesh with the staccato pace set by the band. Asad’s showcases his range on the ballad “So Amazing,” a track propelled by the interplay between Asad’s vocal and some nuanced jazz piano creativity by Garfield on a track that finds the vocalist expressing wonder at the love he has found with his wife. Additionally, the skills of Be On It allow Asad to include rap verses into tracks such as up-tempo funk party jam “Just Be” in a way that feels natural rather than forced.

The love lane appeared to have exhausted all of its possibilities among younger music listeners. Still, a new generation of artists are moving into the lane that Asad never really left. He remains there for the good reason that he’s an old-fashioned romantic, but also because his balladry, mid-tempo crooning, and organic funk are what he does best and is most comfortable with. That comfort comes through on The Way We Are, an album that is a throwback to a time when records were an organic balance of ballads, mid-tempo love songs and party anthems.
Solidly Recommended. - Howard Dukes

"Bashiri Asad - "A Girl Named Charlie" (2017)"

Bashiri Asad - A Girl Named Charlie
Okay, here’s the setup. About 10 days ago a person who is a good friend of mine both on Facebook and in real life started lamenting about the state of music. His complaints encapsulated many of the bullet points hit by a lot of the critics of contemporary R&B, but his biggest problem was the lack of romance that he heard in many popular songs of the day. Basically, he longed for the lyricism he heard back in the day from the likes of the Isley Brothers and Earth, Wind & Fire.

There are plenty of contemporary artists who really seek to hone the craft and seek ways to merge the best of the old with what is happening now. It’s just that many of those artists don’t get airplay, meaning fans have to make an effort to find them.

A couple of days later, I opened my e-mail and saw a file from Indianapolis based singer and songwriter Bashiri Asad that contained his latest EP A Girl Named Charlie. After the first song, a mid-tempo ballad titled “Come To Me,” my point was pretty much made.

Indy native Asad is known throughout the city both for his original work as well as live shows that pay tribute to soul legends such as Al Green, Marvin Gaye and Bill Withers. Asad also cut a Gil-Scott Heron tribute album in 2015. So Asad brings an understanding of classic soul to his work. Asad says that he doesn’t spend a lot of time worrying that his analog worldview in today’s digital world will limit his appeal.

“I don't worry so much about keeping up, or arranging things in a way so that a certain demographic will listen to it. My goal is to make music that everyone will want to listen to,” Asad told the Indy based alternative newspaper Nuvo in a 2016 interview.

Asad’s self-assurance pays off nicely on A Girl Named Charlie, a record featuring the full diversity offered within the topic of the love song. There is “Don’t Get Married Sherry,” a soulfully sweet ballad that features church organs and a story of a man who embarks on a journey from Indiana to Georgia after the grandmother of an old girlfriend gives him the heads up about his ex’s upcoming nuptials.

The aforementioned “Come To Me” is a blues/soul ballad that might have been right at home at Stax records. Here, Asad deploys his silky tenor to set a relaxing scene for his lady after a long day. “close your eyes/relax your mind/lay your head on my chest/unwind/let your troubles fade away/save them for another day.”

The up-tempo “Get Into It,” with percussive bass line and hand claps, is a number that seeks to inspire people to shake off those blues and just enjoy themselves. The cut combines the joy of a church praise song with the call to shake off those blues and hit the party scene.

The title track is an upbeat ode to the quintessential good woman placed in a musical arrangement featuring drums that give the number a march feel and that ever-present church inspired keyboard work. Asad might want to think about giving the creators of the TV show “Queen Sugar” a heads up about this tune since one of the female leads in that drama goes by the name Charlie. Just a suggestion. A Girl Named Charlie is musical reminder that the musical pickings aren’t as slim as the mainstream leads us to believe. And it is a real treat when you find a winner like this.
Strongly Recommended. - Howard Dukes

"Bashiri Asad's Genuine Soul Music Journey"

When Bashiri Asad first got involved with the local music scene, the Indy soul standout chose to do it the old-fashioned way.

“I did it old school,” he says. “I actually opened up a NUVO and started looking for places where people were performing. I would pop up at these places — open mics and things like that.

“Anywhere that anybody had a stage, I was looking to get on and do something. It’s an experience I don’t forget, and I had a blast doing it. I went to some places I never thought I’d go here in the city, just looking for the opportunity.”

Having now been active in Indy’s music community for a decade, Asad regularly plays at venues of note all around town. This past weekend, in fact, he and his band, Be On It, celebrated the release of their new album, The Way We Are, with two headlining shows at the Jazz Kitchen.

Originally from Indianapolis, Asad grew up in Indy’s South Broad Ripple neighborhood before eventually heading on to Central State University for college. Even as a youngster, he remembers being drawn to soul music.

“I grew up a classic soul head,” he says. “Curtis Mayfield, Donny Hathaway, and Stevie Wonder are three of my favorite songwriters in history.”

While at Central State, Asad was a member of the University Chorus. Following graduation, however, he admits that his pursuit of music fell off for a while.

“Years after I was done in school, I started doing some open mics in the Denver area [while working with AmeriCorps],” Asad says. “I didn’t take it seriously.”

In the coming years, Asad shifted his attention to family matters, before eventually receiving a nudge from his wife to really pursue music.

“I got married and started to have children,” Asad says. “I was 30 years old, and my wife suggested to me that I give it a shot. That was just over 10 years ago, so I’ve been doing this for 10 years now.”

Asad first started out going to poetry-oriented open mics, where he began to blossom as a performer.

“I started on the poetry circuit, singing there and gaining confidence,” he says. “Then, when I started writing, I was just attempting songs that way.”

Asad eventually got his first opportunity performing with the party band Blue Soul. From here, however, he decided to get out and try his own thing, thanks to the urging of Blue Soul bandleader Vincent Howard.

“He’s since moved on to do great things in Orlando, but he was a big part of me branching out and doing my own thing,” Asad says of Howard. “If it was something I wanted to do, he said I should do it.”

With his latest album, The Way We Are, Asad has continued following his dreams.

“Some of my favorite bands are Mint Condition, Earth, Wind & Fire, and more recently, D’Angelo,” Asad says. “Acts like those put together these albums, and you get the live band feel. I wanted to get that across.”

To accomplish this, Asad teamed up with a group by the name of Be On it, which features C.J. Warfield on keys, Jesse Thompson on bass, Terry Adams on auxiliary keys/organ, and Joe Elliot III on drums. After years of working together, Asad and Be On It began piecing together an album of original works, which would later become The Way We Are.

“We came together and said, ‘This is what we’re gonna do. Let’s go ahead and put an album out,’” Asad says. “It came about organically. It started in conversation, and it grew from there.”

Like all of Asad’s previous studio offerings, The Way We Are is a heartfelt soul record.

“The album is my contribution to our life and times,” Asad says. “Particularly as a Black man, I think it’s important to do my part to uplift.”

“There’s a lot of toxic music out here, and people put the music that they listen to as part of the soundtrack to whatever it is they have going on,” Asad continues. “We as musicians provide a soundtrack for life, and I can only speak from the perspective of a married Black man living in Indianapolis. This is my soundtrack for life here in Indianapolis and for life in general.”

Having now been on the scene for a long time, Asad couldn’t be more excited about the current state of Indianapolis music.

“Being a musician in Indy at this time and age is a good time,” Asad says. “We have great artists on the scene. There is a renaissance happening here, and I’m glad to be a part of it.” - Seth Johnson



Acknowledging that each of us has a priceless gift that we must harness and share with the world, Bashiri has come to define his sound as "IndySoul."  From shoo-wop style singing groups and classical vocal training, to performances local and abroad, his vocal prowess has been growing into the soul-stirring entity it is known as today.  

The influences of Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder, Sam Cooke, and Otis Redding echo in his performance, and those coupled with his own strength and passion have come together to create HIS music.  

Seeking to join the ranks of other indie-soul artists looking to breathe new life into the scene, Bashiri has begun to make a name for himself not just in the Circle City, but around the world.  Bashiri's infectious passion for the art of music and authenticity in performance is making him a familiar name on the independent music scene.  

Humble in his approach, relentless in his delivery, you have to experience it to truly understand. 

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