Growing up in Canada, Justin Ashar always imagined living the American dream in the United States. As a child, he fantasized about going to school in America and starting a new life. When his dad was suddenly presented with the opportunity to move to the US for work, Ashar's dreams quickly came true. After graduating from high school in Colorado, he went on to graduate from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a degree in geology.
After graduation, Ashar was given 3 months on his visa to find a job in the United States, or else he would be forced to move back to Canada. Determined to remain in the country, he accepted a rather grueling job in the northern part of Alaska on an oil rig that required him to work 12+ hour days with no weekends or breaks for 4 weeks at a time. He did this for 3 years before being laid off as a result of the oil industry crashing.
Although he was unemployed, he had recently gotten married to his girlfriend of 7 years and was thus able to obtain a green card. He was not allowed to work during this time and picked up some hobbies to pass the time. One hobby he became deeply invested in was playing the harmonium, an Indian keyboard instrument. As a joke, he decided to record himself covering a hit pop song with the instrument and upload it to Facebook. He thought little of it at the time, but this video would be a catalyst in his life and lead him on an unexpected journey towards a prominent career in music.
He admits he fell in love with entrepreneurship as a mistake after experimenting with the harmonium. This affinity for trying new things and thinking outside the box is what helped his first harmonium video garner over 1 million views on Facebook. At this point, he began to realize he could leverage his creative thinking and experimental nature to help others seeking to make a name for themselves in the music industry.
As a result, Pug Life Records was born and Ashar was officially in the business of managing artists while helping them blow up their brand through viral content. After working with his very first client, it was apparent that Ashar's own success with his video was no accident. He teamed up with Shobhit Banwait, an artist from Toronto, Canada, to create a mashup of a smash Bollywood hit which quickly racked up over 350,000 views causing Banwait's channel to skyrocket to 180,000 plus subscribers. The content was executed perfectly, and it became evident that Ashar had a proven formula to produce entertaining viral content for the masses.
Since then, Ashar has also become successful in helping clients launch albums. In his first week, producer AIR APPARENT achieved over 100,000 streams on Spotify under Pug Life Records. With accomplishments like these most people would rest on their laurels and relax. Not Ashar, he remained hungry for more, and with a solid base established for his music label, he looked elsewhere for new ventures. He has since expanded Pug Life into comedy, athletics, and food and is excited to make Pug Life a household name in a number of industries.
Ashar values authenticity and being transparent in both failure and success. He knows regardless of what someone portrays on social media, everyone has ups and downs. This is a core reason why he pushes a message of truth, transparency and raw emotion to help inspire his audience. He is the first to admit that he has faced hardship in his life and was still unsure of a future in music even after going viral with his original harmonium video. Pug Life Records is named after his pug dog, Babu. There was a point in Ashar's life where he was forced to give Babu up to a new family as he had to travel because of work. It crushed him, but it motivated him to grind as hard as he could, and he has since brought the dog back into his household after 7 years apart.