As her debut album ‘Heaven & Hell’ is coming out soon I thought I would do my next Artist Spotlight on Ava Max. People definitely know who she is, but I feel she is extremely underrated.
Amanda Koci, was born on February 16th 1994 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Both her parents emigrated from Albania in 1990 and the family moved to France. After one year if living in France they moved to Pennsylvania and later moved to Virginia.
Ava always had a strong on interest in music growing up, she would listen to her mum singing opera and was a huge fan of Madonna, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and other artists around this time. When she turned 10, she started to write her own songs, throughout her teenage years this continued and she started to perform her own songs and covers to an audience. When she reached 14, she realised her potential and decided she wanted to be a singer as her career. She managed to contact Pharrell Williams who gave her some helpful tips. She then moved to LA to try and follow her dream.
In 2013 she decided to go by the name AVA and her first song was released ‘Take Away The Pain’. This led to a DJ remixing the song in 2015. In 2016 she released ‘Anyone But You’ with Cirkut on SoundCloud. This song then opened doors for Ava, many record labels contacted her including Atlantic Records who gave her a record deal! After landing a record deal, she began to look for a last name to add to her stage name. She chose to use ‘Max’. Around this time, she started to wear her hair in signature style, now known as ‘the max cut’.
Throughout 2018, Max released several songs: ‘My Way’, ‘Salt’, ‘Not Your Barbie Girl’ and the smash hit single ‘Sweet But Psycho’. ‘Sweet But Psycho’ was praised worldwide it became her first worldwide hit and it even reached number 1 in 22 countries. As this song is a dance track and extremely catchy, Max was compared to artists like Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. This is one of the best singles from an ‘unknown’ artist ever and it has really allowed her to jump into the music industry.
In 2019, her next single ‘So Am I’ came out. This is a self-love song which encourages you to be yourself. When talking about the meaning of the song Max said, “About what makes people unique and different from each other. It’s about loving yourself, being different, being an outcast and not fitting in the format that society wants to put us in — just celebrating what really makes you different. Whenever I’m feeling down, I remind myself that my flaws make me perfect, because in reality there is no perfect.” Not quite as successful as ‘Sweet But Psycho’, ‘So Am I’ managed to reach number 13 in the UK and reach number 2 in the US dance charts.
July 2019, Max released two promotional single ‘Blood Sweat And Tears’ and ‘Freaking Me Out’. ‘Blood Sweat And Tears’ was originally going to be the second single from her debut album but it was then pushed back which mean ‘So Am I’ took its place. ‘Freaking Me Out’ is about “realizing that you’re in love with someone to a degree that feels almost beyond your control.”
In August she released ‘Torn’ which charted really well in European countries, but it didn’t seem to chart outside of the continent. The song is about feeling torn in a relationship because she both loves them and hates them. In December she re-released ‘Salt’ but this time it was on all streaming services whereas previously it was just on SoundCloud. ‘Salt’ is about a boyfriend wanting to get back together, the lyric “I’m all out of salt, I don’t want to cry” relates to the salt in her tears and how she doesn’t want to be hurt by her ex again.
In 2020 she released ‘Kings & Queens’ which is now advertised as the lead single from her debut album. This is once again a female empowerment song; it talks about equality for women and men. The gender equality struggle has gotten a lot better over the years, but it still has a long way to go. Max said this is a reminder that women and men should be equal and that we should all support each other.
Her latest single “Who’s Laughing Now” was released in July 2020, you can read my review of the single here.
If her recent releases are anything to go by her album should be great! I love how she is very artistic within her music and the visuals are very important to her. As the album is called ‘Heaven & Hell’ I wonder how she will distinguish between the two parts throughput the album. I think she could have a very big and very successful career if she keeps this up!
You can stream her current discography on Apple Music and Spotify. ‘Heaven & Hell’ is out on 18th September.