Friday November 27, 2020
By Volker Probst
Anyone who turns on the radio can no longer avoid Ava Max. Her songs like “Sweet But Psycho”, “Kings And Queens” or “Who’s Laughing Now” run in a loop. With “My Head & My Heart” the next catchy tune follows. But that might sound familiar to some.
Sometimes a new star suddenly appears in the pop sky – and you don’t really know where he’s coming from. In the case of Ava Max, one can say so much: the 26-year-old has Albanian roots, but was born in the USA and grew up there.
As a teenager, she made the decision to enter the music business. She experimented with platforms like Myspace and Soundcloud and eventually caught the attention of record companies. In 2018 she signed a contract with Atlantic Records. And her first single is already a mega-hit – first in Europe, then in her home country USA. “Sweet But Psycho” conquered the top of the charts in numerous countries, including Germany.
A catchy tune in a loop
So far, so common. Pop stars like this one are almost produced on an assembly line these days. But Ava Max is far from being a one-hit wonder. On the contrary: anyone who turns on the format radio has not been able to ignore her songs for two years now. Regardless of whether it is “So Am I”, “Kings And Queens” or “Who’s Laughing Now” – Ava Max pays the listener a constant loop.
In September, the singer’s debut album “Heaven & Hell” was released, on which many of her catchy tunes can be found, if not all. Ava Max explains in an interview with ntv.de that she didn’t want to mop up on her first long player. “That’s why the sad songs didn’t make it onto the album.” For example, songs like “Freaking Me Out” or “My Way” are missing, even if they are a bit more leisurely to the point than usual in the singer’s colorful pop cosmos, but they don’t exactly bring tears to your eyes.
Does an artist like her today actually need a complete album as a form of expression? “It’s great to have such a vessel for your work. And it’s nice to share it with the fans so that they can listen to the songs from beginning to end,” says Ava Max to prophesies of doom and the age of albums is actually over for artists like her, a rejection.
Work and talent
Ava Max provides several explanations for the fact that she has managed to make her pop star dream come true. The first is rooted in its roots. So her parents came to the United States as immigrants. “They came here because it’s the only place they could both do three jobs at a time. They literally didn’t sleep. They came home, slept an hour and then went back to work. They did that for years, Saved money and bought her first home, “recalls the singer.
A lesson from which she drew her conclusions. “They taught me that you can go anywhere if you work hard for it. They told me: You can do it in music like this, too,” says Ava Max in an interview with ntv.de.
But without a certain talent, even the hardest work does nothing, which leads to the second explanation for the musician’s success. “I’ve always sung at home. For my neighbors or my family. They got together in the living room to listen to me. My mother always supported me. We sang together. And when I was 14, we moved to California! “says Ava Max.
Help from Pharrell Williams?
After all, it would be a few years before it would gain a foothold in the Mecca of the entertainment industry. According to an anecdote, Ava Max was helped by the moral support of superstar Pharrell Williams. The singer puts that into perspective with a laugh. “It was at the Miami airport. I was really young – maybe twelve or 13. He just stood there. My mother said, ‘Come on, go there.’ So I’m with him. That was a crazy moment. He just said to me, ‘Just do it!’ But I don’t think he remembers me anymore. “
More than once, Ava Max emphasizes the ubiquitous support of her mother, who sings operas herself. “She really helped me a lot.” However, her wish to include her mother on her album fell on deaf ears. “She didn’t want to. I just couldn’t persuade her,” admits Ava Max that she had to surrender at this point.
The singer does not want to give in when it comes to a strong self-confidence as a woman in the pop circus. “If all of the kings had their queens on the throne, we would pop champagne and raise a toast” (“If all the kings left the throne to their queens, we would head the champagne and say a toast”), it says in their hit song “Kings And Queens”. “So Am I”, on the other hand, is about “not being pigeonholed and how important individuality is. Because of its message, it is one of my favorite songs,” says Ava Max.
Peter Schilling and ATC
With this message, the song has also achieved a certain hymn status in the LGBTQ community. It’s also these issues that Ava Max addresses, and not just her flashy outfit, that regularly bring her comparisons to Lady Gaga. But she has absolutely no problem with that. “It’s an honor, of course,” she explains.
Does Peter Schilling think it’s an honor that his “Major Tom” has found influence in the Ava Max song “Born To The Night”? Not the only time that the singer has sampled a piece of pop history and given it a new look. Her latest song “My Head & My Heart”, which was released last week and once again makes the radio frequencies glow, should also bring back memories. In the end, she took the 90s Eurodance hit “Around The World” from ATC as a template.
Until she can travel around the world again, you have to wait for the corona pandemic to end. But, Ava Max leaves no doubt about that, then she will attack our eardrums live: “I can’t wait to go on tour.”