Ashnikko: ‘I don’t take no for an answer’

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Vasso Vu

“I had my name in diamantes across my chest… like a true narcissist.”

At this year’s Brit Awards in London, Ashnikko made sure she stood out a mile.

When the US singer and rapper arrived on the red carpet, everyone was drawn to her bright blue hair and outfit.

She was accompanied by two terrifying, faceless-masked, muscled men carrying her giant pigtails.

As an up-and-coming artist, Ashnikko wasn’t going to be upstaged by some of the other huge A-listers at the event.

“It was a real moment and is one of those occasions I’ll be remembering when I’m 80 years old with a rose wine in my hand.”

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Ashnikko was channelling sci-fi dreams and nightmares at the Brit Awards in 2020.

‘I’m very annoying’

Mixing genres including pop, rock and rock, her track Daisy is all over BBC Radio 1 right now and she’s currently preparing for the release of her debut mixtape, Demidevil.

So far, Ashnikko says she’s done everything her way.

“I’m very annoying and I don’t take no for an answer when it comes to my career, which makes me unpleasant to some people. It’s taken me quite some time to get to where I am.”

Whether she’s covered in fake blood or sneezing blue dye, Ashnikko’s social media – especially TikTok – has got her noticed.

It stands out but she has keep it at arms’ length because it’s too easy for her mental health “to deteriorate and crumble”.

“The way I interact with fans on social media has definitely changed in the past year as I’ve gained more exposure. It’s not as personal as I would like it to be.

“I love my supporters. They’re hilarious, lovely, intelligent people but I can’t have as close a relationship with them as I could before. There are a lot of trolls on the internet and I just have to protect myself.

“I think it’s about treating social media more as a business rather than somewhere I go to gain a sense of self worth and validation. It’s a fine line.”

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Ashnikko’s music is for fans of:

  • Charli XCX
  • Cardi B
  • Grimes
  • Miley Cyrus
  • Lady Gaga

A native of North Carolina, she’s recently settled in London but is currently residing in Detroit, Michigan to ride out coronavirus.

Putting a project together in Covid-19 times has been “stress inducing” and she says a lot of “blood, sweat and tears” has gone into the record.

“I have nurtured her for a long time. I’ve been sitting on some of these songs for nearly 18 months. This project is finally the one I’m proud of.”

On Deal With It, she samples Kelis’ Caught Out There, she’s collaborated with Grimes on Cry and there’s also a reworking of Avril Lavigne’s Sk8er Boi.

“It’s called Later Boy and it’s probably the favourite song from my mixtape.”

What’s even sweeter for Ashnikko (who’s real name is Ashton Casey) is Avril’s team agreeing to the cover.

“I screamed so loud, She’s hardly cleared the use of that track to anyone since it came out in 2002. Now, I just need to know that she’ll hear it.”

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Getty Images

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Ashnikko is a huge fan of Avril Lavigne

Lavigne is one of Ashnikko’s musical idols and part of her wider group of favourite “female powerhouses” that includes M.I.A., Nicki Minaj, Missy Elliott, Gwen Stefani, Bjork, Dolly Parton and Lil Kim.

“I didn’t listen to any men before the age of 16. I would go to heaven if I could see them all play.”

Like so many other artists, Ashnikko is missing the live music scene and had grand plans for her stage shows, including pumping a “bubble-gum smell” into the audience to create a sensory overload.

Instead, she’s working towards a memorable livestream show with “theatrics, animatronic dinosaurs and dragons”, proving that – right from the start of her career – nothing Ashnikko does is understated.

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