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"infectious neo-soul” - Rolling Stone

"sonic serotonin” - Happy Mag

'rich and intoxicating' - Pilerats

'such power in Baker's songwriting' - 

Line Of Best Fit

'incredibly soulful... stiflingly raw' - Earmilk

“solid soul goodness” - KCRW



Crafting his work from a place of deep artistic integrity, Louis has gathered a loyal following that spans the world over. Everyone from India Arie (“Louis Baker, you sing my soul”) to BBC 6 Music, Clash Magazine and Earmilk have shown love for what he does.


Growing up in the working-class suburb of Newtown, Wellington, Louis developed his passion for music at an early age listening to his parent’s diverse record collection, which featured the likes of Miles Davis, Marvin Gaye and Joni Mitchell.


Picking up his singer-songwriter mother’s Yamaha acoustic guitar as an 11 year-old, he was shown a few chords and then went on to learn to play the instrument by ear. This obsession with the guitar would lead him through a metal phase all the way to the world of rhythm and blues, with guitar players such as Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn. The former inspired the then 15-year-old Baker to pick up a wah-wah pedal in an attempt to conjure the spirit of the late great Voodoo Child.


At the age of 17, Baker entered Play It Strange, a national songwriting competition organised by Split Enz’s Mike Chunn. His song ‘Three Ladies’, dedicated to the experiences of his mother and two sisters, saw him place top five, with his prize being an acoustic guitar that he still records and travels with today. Following high school, Baker enrolled at Jazz School through the New Zealand School of Music, supplementing his studies with live gigs around the city.


Baker’s first official release came in 2011 with the song ‘Even In The Darkness’. The track won him the most votes on 'The Audience', a New Zealand government funded website dedicated to new, unreleased music. Then in 2013 Baker was chosen out of 4000 applicants to take one of only 60 places at the prestigious Red Bull Music Academy in New York. The programme included guest lectures from Brian Eno, Questlove (The Roots) and Q-Tip (A Tribe Called Quest) and also saw Louis experience a studio session with legendary hip hop producer Just Blaze.


Following the Academy, he spent the summer in London recording his debut self-titled EP with UK producer Andy Lovegrove (Supergrass, Breaks Co-Op, Badly Drawn Boy), which upon release in 2014, debuted at #3 on the New Zealand Top 40 Albums Chart. The EP track ‘Back On My Feet’ saw Baker debut as a finalist in the prestigious APRA Silver Scrolls Awards. Baker quickly followed up the EP by teaming up with New Zealand-born, UK-based Ninja Tune signing Jordan Rakei on the track, ‘Just Want to Thank You’.


Throughout 2016 and 2017 Baker released four stand-alone singles, ‘Rainbow’, ‘Fade’, ‘Gave It All Away’ and ‘Addict’. Accompanied by an equally stark video, which has since seen over a quarter of a million views, long-time New Zealand music critic and author, Grant Smithies said of ‘Rainbow’, “A glorious song this – sad and sparse, wise and true, with a restraint to the vocal that suits the vulnerability of the love-lorn lyric.” Baker’s next release ‘Fade’ was co-written and produced by Brad Ellis (Wilkinson, James Arthur, Sam Smith) of London based duo The Nextmen. ‘Gave it All Away’ saw the release of two distinctly different versions, a strikingly raw acoustic version and an electronic version produced by Fat Freddy’s Drop’s Mu. Finally ’Addict’ saw Baker team up with two-time Ivor Novello winner and Grammy nominated songwriter and producer Sacha Skarbek, fellow New Zealanders producer Josh Fountain (LEISURE) and Theia. The four tracks saw Baker accumulate over 7.5 million streams within the space of a year and make the top 20 finalist list for the APRA Silver Scroll in 2017 with ‘Rainbow’.


Over the years Baker has toured New Zealand, Australia, the UK and Europe multiple times, he has also played at key international festivals including Field Days - London, Sonar Festival - Barcelona, Sziget Festival – Hungary, Splendour In The Grass - Australia, as well as Rhythm and Vines and Homegrown back in his home country of New Zealand.  He has also toured with the likes of Allen Stone, Jamie Liddel and Jordan Rakei.


Baker released his critically acclaimed debut album ‘Open’ in 2019, which received prestigious a Taite Music Prize nomination, and Aotearoa Music Awards nominations for Best Soul Artist and Best Māori Artist.   Written and produced in London, Los Angeles, Sydney and New Zealand, the album sees him reflecting on being open to opportunity, to change and to acceptance. Working with Grammy-nominated Engineer and Producer, Steve Rusch (Kendrick Lamar, Solange, Cody Chesnutt), multi-platinum selling songwriter Lindy Robbins (Andra Day, Chromeo).


Previous singles ‘Back On My Feet’ (2014), ‘Rainbow’ (2016), and ‘Black Crow’ (2018) have been recognised with APRA Silver Scroll nominations.  


Louis latest offering, Love Levitates, takes his signature brand of modern-soul to bright new territory. Working with producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Devin Abrams (Dallas Tamaira, Drax Project, Pacific Heights), Love Levitates is Baker’s five-track opus of life, an intimate yet expansive journey of heritage, love, friendship, observation, and beyond.



We offer one-to-one mentoring for self/managed and independent artists at any stage of your career.

Sessions cover everything from the business of music, artist development, music industry introductions, marketing and promotion, live shows and touring,  release strategy, content creation, distribution and goal setting.

We help you to navigate challenges by sharing information about our own experiences, as well as providing practical guidance, motivation and support.

Sessions are tailor-made to suit your needs.

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Aston Rd provides tailor-made workshops and seminars for music industry organisations around the country.

Some of the organisations we've worked with;

Te Auaha Performing Arts, Pao Pao Pao, MMF NZ, Te Mangai Paho, Hawkes Bay Music Hub and Sole Music Academy.

In 2022 we will be launching a series of Artist Development workshops and masterclasses for emerging artists.  

Sign up to our newsletter to keep up to date with our latest news!


"Self-management is not easy. When I'm trying to do everything myself, being able to call on Cushla – who can look at the situation with an objective eye – is vital. She's a great sounding board, offering honest appraisals on all matters and helping me to see the whole forest, not just the trees!" - Julia Deans

Artist Management
Music Industry Resouces


Here's a one-stop shop of resources to help you on your career path. 


It's pretty cool that we can get funding to help our music careers in Aotearoa. Check out some of the funding agencies below

Useful Tools

Check out these links for some useful tools. We've even created some cool templates to help you!

Helpful Industry Bodies

These helpful industry bodies can help you on your music career path.


Check out these links for some useful budgeting and planning information.



Aston Rd is proud to present a series of six masterclasses specifically designed to help the development of ten Wellington-based independent artists who are serious about making a career in the music business.

Presenting the series is Artist Manager and Music Business Consultant Cushla Aston of Aston Rd alongside some of New Zealand's industry leaders in their field.

Meet the Artists 2022


Mo Ect.

  • Spotify
  • Instagram

Eli Superflyy

  • Spotify
  • Instagram


  • Spotify
  • Instagram

Alba Rose

  • Spotify
  • Instagram

Sofia Machray

  • Spotify
  • Instagram

Timmy Porter

  • Spotify
  • Instagram

Venus Mp3

  • Spotify
  • Instagram


  • Spotify
  • Instagram

Will McClean

  • Spotify
  • Instagram

Good Night My Darling

  • Spotify
  • Instagram


Each module is delivered in person and offers practical advice to help you up-skill

and fast track your music career development.

We want to help you map out the steps to developing a focused and meaningful music career.




Whakawhanaungatanga - In our first session we'll spend time establishing our relationships alongside learning how to balance both the business and creative sides of music with a positive mindset.    We welcome Dr Luke Rowe, a clinical psychologist, Senior Lecturer Hauora and Mindset Coach for the Hurricanes Super Rugby and Pulse Netball Teams.

Delivered by course Facilitator Cushla Aston. 
Speaker: Luke Rowe



The first half of this session will cover everything business - business structure, tax obligations, book keeping, how to make money, contracts, the value of your assets and more.  Our belief is Artists who understand the business and how they make money become sustainable faster and make better music career decisions. 

The second half of this session will look at how to define goals and why goal setting, plans and strategy are critical to the development of a music career.  By the end of the session attendees will have a 12-month plan and a strategy to align their goals and vision. 

Delivered by Cushla Aston. 

Speaker: Nina Da Costa, Tax Accountants 



What makes you and your music authentic and stand out in the crowd? In this session we help our artists to identify their unique voice. They will learn how to craft a press release and biography using structure, creative writing techniques and facts. 

Delivered by course Facilitator Cushla Aston. 

Mentor: Leanda Borrett 

Mentor: Martyn Pepperell



A strong image can be the difference between getting the front cover or a small editorial. Fans connect with you and your music by the way you look and sound. In this session we talk about styling, what it says about you and how to use what you've got. 

Delivered by course Facilitator Cushla Aston. 

Mentor: Kate Stacey - Stylist 



With a focus on Facebook and Instagram we help students to set up a Business Manager account and create a demo ad. We focus on target audiences, how to boost, how to set up a cross-post and discuss what makes an engaging ad. Students will have the skills to run their own FB & IG digital campaigns. 

Delivered by course Facilitator Cushla Aston. 

Mentor: Molly Littlejohn 

Team: Nina Lesperance



IIn this final session we cover the essentials of media training - preparation, the do's and dont's, what makes a great story and how to navigate the demands of a media run. Students will have an opportunity to be interviewed by a radio presenter with feedback. 

Delivered by course Facilitator Cushla Aston. 

Mentor: Nicole Thomas 

Mentor: Yadana Saw 


Participants receive a one hour one-to-one coaching session with the course founder Cushla Aston.


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Leanda Borrett

Leanda has nearly 30 years’ experience working in the broadcast and media industries across music, film and television. In 2016 she established her own music PR company 'Eleventy12' and is currently a mentor, specialising in music marketing, for Music Managers Forum Aotearoa and NZ On Air. 

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Nicole Thomas

Nicole co-directs 'NicNak Media' (PR and promotions and music management). She has over 20 years of experience in media industries including 8 years at Warner Music NZ specialising in publicity and radio promotion.

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Molly Littlejohn

Molly Littlejohn is a Talent Manager at People of Influence, working with genuine talent such as radio hosts, musicians, actors, athletes and more to secure brand deals to help evolve their social media accounts.


Luke Rowe

Luke is of Ngāti Tūwharetoa and Ngāti Raukawa descent. His background is in Clinical Psychology and is a Senior Lecturer at Massey University and Mindset Coach for the Hurricanes Super Rugby and Central Pulse Netball teams.

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Nina da Costa

Nina is a Wellington based taxation accountant, with a particular in interest in Entertainment. With over 20 years of experience working with bands and artists, her clients include Fat Freddys Drop, Lord Echo, Louis Baker and more.

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Martyn Pepperell

Martyn is a music journalist, broadcaster, DJ and event promoter, with his writing presented worldwide. Outside of journalism, Martyn has served on funding and arts assessment panels for NZ On Air, Creative New Zealand and The Arts Foundation of New Zealand.

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Kate Stacey

Kate stacey is a business owner in Wellington creative director / brand direction and social media consultant of young artists at the start of their music careers

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Yadana Saw

Yadana is an experienced broadcaster and radio producer. She has onscreen experience hosting RNZ’s 2016 Silver Scroll coverage and the The Spinoff’s Final Mix series. She is passionate about storytelling and creating the right conditions to transform a routine interview into a worthwhile conversation.


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Kia ora, I'm Cushla (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Pikiao), the founder of Aston Rd and I'm super excited to launch this masterclass series in Te Whanganui-a-Tara.

I’ve been managing and mentoring artists for the past decade and there’s a real gap in the teaching of the business of music.  And, if you’re a self-managing artist then the struggle is real. 


We want our participants to find the sweet spot between creative and career and to walk away with business knowledge, tools, networks, and a community of people they can call on.

Meet the team of awesomely talented individuals working behind the scenes with me below.

Learn more about Aston Rd here





Rosie is a Wellington-based musician and has performed at gigs and festivals across the country.  She has experience spending 18-months managing a music production studio in the CBD of Wellington called 'PureSound', as well as working previously to help organise music seminars and festivals across NZ. We're excited for Rosie to support some Aston Road sessions to help the artists feel welcome and at home.






Born and raised in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Isaac Adams has worked as an artist manager over the last 3 years managing the talented RIIKI REID. After completing a Bachelor of Commercial Music Industry, Isaac has also had a range of experience with festivals, shows, artist liaison and PR.

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Wallace Gollan is a musician who has designed visuals for her project from day one in the music biz. Over time she started designing for other artists and what started as a hobby, has grown into a thriving freelance graphic design business, creating posters, merch and assets for social media campaigns. Wallace's goal is to create cohesive and exciting work with an emphasis on colour and audience engagement.

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Nina is a wizz on all things social media, digital marketing and optimising social engagement. Through her experience with media management through the NZ Music Commission, as well as Radio New Zealand, we are excited to have her on the team to guide and support sessions. She will also help facilitate and mentor on module 5.

With thanks to the NZ Music Commission for making this possible



Aston Rd was founded in 2010 and is owned and operated by Cushla Aston (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Pikiao).

Aston Rd specialises in Artist Management, mentoring, music business education, artist development and project management.

With over a decade of experience in the New Zealand music industry Cushla has worked with notable independent platinum selling acts such as Fat Freddy’s Drop, Kora, Trinity Roots and currently manages Louis Baker.


In 2012 Cushla won ‘Upcoming Manager of the Year’ and was a finalist for ‘Manager of the Year’ in 2015 and 2021.  She is the Chairperson for the Music Managers Forum, has over 300 hours of artist mentoring experience supplying services to the MMF and Te Māngai Pāho; and is a Senior Lecturer at Massey University College of Creative Arts delivering the industry paper on Artist Development.  In 2022 Cushla launched Aston Rd Music Career Masterclass, a six module series of Masterclass focused on supporting the careers of ten self-managing and independent artists based in Wellington.


Collectively her clients have been winners and finalists in the APRA Silver Scrolls, Taite Music Awards, Aotearoa  Music Awards and NZ Music Critics Choice Awards.  They have toured both nationally and internationally including territories such as the UK, Europe, Asia, Polynesia and Australia.   Acting as her clients’ independent record labels she has also helped them reach Top 10 debuts in the official New Zealand Album Charts.

Cushla is a certified and accredited life coach, has diplomas in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Neurolinguistic Programming, a Mental Health First Aid Certificate and has the Mana Ora - New Zealand Certificate in Māori Business and Management.


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