The pop vocalist speaks with V about her latest album, "Diamonds and Dancefloors," and the duality that encapsulates the project
The pop vocalist speaks with V about her latest album, "Diamonds and Dancefloors," and the duality that encapsulates the project
Ava Max grew up admiring the musical abilities of her family—and it wasn’t long before she decided to forge her own path in the industry. She traveled to compete in singing competitions, putting all of her energy into her dream, before choosing her stage name and manifesting the dance-popstar we now know. At seventeen, Max embarked on the journey of a lifetime to Los Angeles and worked tirelessly for five years until she signed her record deal, catapulting into the world of dance music and disco balls at full speed.
The course was not always painless, but through it all, Max leaned on music to keep her composure. The singer songwriter’s status as certified diva was secured with her viral, hit single “Sweet But Psycho,” released in 2018—and her debut album Heaven and Hell continued that momentum just a couple of years later.
But speaking to Max over a casual video call, it became apparent that she is more than just your diva next door. On stage, she’ll effortlessly mix glitter-encrusted frocks with punk jewelry and chunky platform boots, expressing what she calls her “goth side.” In the same ways that her fashion choices convey her many facets, her new album Diamonds and Dancefloors sheds light on the duality that characterizes her persona. Max cannot be boxed in by just one description or style, and her new project proves just that.
Below, Max speaks with V about Diamonds and Dancefloors, the emotions behind it, early inspirations, and the tenacity she maintains that allows it all to flourish.
V MAGAZINE: With a mother who comes from a musical background, what lessons did she teach you in your early days that you still carry? Did growing up in a musical environment sway you to pursue the same things?
AVA MAX: It definitely changed the way I view music. Growing up with my mom, she loved to sing so much and my dad loves to play piano. My uncles were in bands and my grandparents wrote songs so I think my whole family loved music growing up. I think that's why I was quickly drawn to music. I used to sing all the time with my mom and compete in singing competitions.
V: Right, and I know you participated in singing competitions all over Virginia growing up and even traveled to do so. Did younger Ava always know this was her path?
AM: Oh my God, yes! Always. I knew what I wanted to do since I was eight years old. Which is a blessing and a curse because then you don't know how to get there.
V: It sounds like it was in your blood, but navigating the music industry at the young age you did is no easy feat. What helped you to push through?
AM: Consistency and perseverance. You have to have persistence and you have to be consistent. You have to be persistent if you want to do anything in life, which for me is obviously music. I was putting out music and I was writing a lot of music. So I think it's all about not stopping. I think people stop right before something great. It's about to happen and that's where they fail, you know, I think you just have to keep going no matter what.
V: I read that you chose your stage name—Ava Max—due to Ava being your middle name and Max being a name you were drawn to for its both feminine and masculine qualities. I see that same duality in your music—bedroom pop that oozes with femininity, delivered in a strong-willed, gallant way. Do you feel this duality characterizes your personality as well?
AM: Oh, for sure. I feel like I need to have my cake and eat it too. I always believe that people can have it all and that you don't have to choose. I feel that society nowadays really makes us feel like we have to choose one direction, do one thing, and be perfect in this little box. And I truly don't agree with that. I feel like we can do anything we want because we live one life—and it's our life—and I think we should live it the way we want to. My music is really just about empowering people to do so.
V: How have you evolved sonically and aesthetically since the “Sweet But Psycho” days and the release of your debut album, Heaven and Hell?
AM: I think I've evolved a lot since “Sweet But Psycho.” I mean, I was just learning. I was new to the industry. I had wanted to be a singer for a very long time, but when “Sweet But Psycho” came out, I was new to the actual touring life and the ins and outs, so it was very hard for me to adjust. Because for years, I was in the studio making music by myself. And so when I was out there making music videos and touring the world afterward, I needed to figure out what I really liked and disliked. So I learned a lot the first year during that first tour.
V: Your new project’s title track, “Diamonds and Dancefloors,” seems to fully encapsulate Ava Max as we know it. It’s giving full diva vibes—diamonds, disco balls, and all. Did you look up to any divas growing up?
AM: Totally. Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani—I mean, the list goes on and on—Tina Turner; I grew up listening to them, and Shania Twain. They were just such strong female performers. And Beyoncé, can't forget Beyoncé. I just grew up listening to their strong voices and how they danced and sang; they were so powerful. So I really took a lot from watching their music videos.
V: Can’t forget Beyoncé—of course. Aside from the glitz and glam that comes along with being a pop star, the new album also navigates more turbulent themes of heartbreak and longing. What drove some of the emotions written about on the project?
AM: For me, it was all about making dance music when I first started this. But then I got my heart broken, and that's when I combined sad lyrics with dance music.
V: That was one of the first things I noticed. That duality we spoke about earlier traverses many lanes. Because of that, I see the conclusive experience of womanhood in the modern world expressed in each song on Diamonds and Dancefloors. We have badass, assertive songs like “Cold As Ice,” alongside sadder reflections like “Ghost.” What is the story you want this album to tell from start to finish?
AM: Lyrically, there's a through line to it and it basically just takes you down the phases of my heartbreak. When I first started getting heartbroken, and I was angry, I wrote, "Maybe You're The Problem." In between my heartbreak, where I was finding myself again and feeling so sad, I had to break it off with "One of Us." That song was about how one of us would die for love while one of us would give it up—we weren't on the same page. And then "Million Dollar Baby" was me coming out stronger from that experience, but then also feeling like everywhere I go I see his ghost, and that's "Ghost," so it all connects.
V: Your outfits are as full of personality as your music. From glitter-clad frocks to leather head to toe, it seems expressing yourself outwardly is important to you. Who are some of your ultimate fashion role models, and what styles draw you in?
AM: I find a lot of inspiration from older music videos, like "Crazy in Love" or Gwen Stefani music videos. I think she's very fashionable and awesome. Kate Moss in the ‘90s as well. I like to mix a lot of stuff and I have a lot of ‘90s, early 2000s, and Y2K looks. But I’m also a little grunge and Rock ‘N Roll in my heart and soul. So I always add a little bit of grunge in there with my big black boots or sometimes I'll wear an all black look and channel my goth side.
V: Now that the album is out, how will you continue building upon the Diamonds and Dancefloors world this year?
AM: I'm extremely excited for my first headline tour. I feel like it's been a long time coming and I haven't been able to tour for a long time because of a lot of different reasons. I'm finally feeling like I can reach my fans and sing with them after all this time, I’m ready.
Amanda Ava Koci (born Amanda Koçi; February 16, 1994), known professionally as Ava Max, is an Albanian-American singer and songwriter.What is Ava Max's real name? ›
February 16, 2023. Amanda Ava Koci, popularly known as Ava Max, was born on February 16, 1994. She started her music career at a young age but found that success sometimes takes a while.How many Grammys does Ava Max have? ›
Max is the recipient of one Attitude Award, one iHeartRadio Titanium Award, four Los 40 Music Awards, one MTV Europe Music Award, one Swiss Music Award and one TopHit Music Award. Her debut studio album, Heaven & Hell, was released by Atlantic in September 2020.How old is Ava Max now? › Did Ava Max go to college? ›
No, Ava Max did not go to college.What is Dua Lipa real name? ›
Dua's real name is actually Dua Lipa. Her given name means 'Love' in Albania.What is the real name of Lady Gaga? ›
From her forthcoming turn in House of Gucci to her outrageous Met Gala looks, Lady Gaga (a.k.a. Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, a.k.a. Ally Maine) has established herself as one of the best-known pop stars and actors working today.What is Ariana Grande's real name? ›
Ariana Grande, in full Ariana Grande-Butera, (born June 26, 1993, Boca Raton, Florida, U.S.), American pop singer and actress who burst onto the pop music scene in the early 2010s and became one of the genre's most successful performers, known for her four-octave range.Who is the biggest GRAMMY winner? ›
Most Grammy Award Wins as of 2023
After the latest ceremonies, global megastar Beyoncé tops a list of record holders and fiercely talented artists, just ahead of celebrated composer Sir Georg Solti.
With 31 golden gramophones to his credit, the most decorated musician in Grammy Awards history — the late orchestra conductor Georg Solti — is hardly a household name. But there are plenty of mainstream pop superstars — from Stevie and Kanye to Beyoncé — who have racked up those trademark trophies, too.
The Album of the Year award is the most prestigious Grammy there is, the rough equivalent of the Best Picture Oscar. The category honors an entire LP, from the first track to the last, and everything about the production of the album's sound.What's with Ava Max's hair? ›
Ava Max ditched her signature hairstyle when she was ready to unleash her new music. The "Maybe You're the Problem" singer shared her new music is completely different from her previous releases and to symbolize the shift in her sound, she changed up her hair.How old is Billie Eilish? › Is Ava Max a blonde? ›
Ava Max is changing things up in a big way. The musician just ditched her platinum blonde hair in favor of a traffic-stopping fire-engine red and it's definitely getting me in the holiday spirit.Is Ava Max famous in America? ›
Ava Max is a well-known singer who goes by the family name Amanda Ava Koci. She was birthed in Wisconsin, a lovely and populated city in Wisconsin, United States of America, on Sept 18, 2020. When Amanda Ava Koci was just 7 years old in 2013, she began her career as a singer.Is Ava Iranian? ›
Ava (V) (2017) is an Iranian/Canadian film written and directed by Sadaf Foroughi .How did Ava Max get her name? ›
Ava's real name is Amanda Koci, but she gave herself the nickname Ava when she was 13 because she never felt like an "Amanda," she told Vanity Fair. When Ava got signed to her record label, she decided she needed a last name, so she chose Max.How much does Ava Max make? ›
Ava Max earns an estimated salary of $1 Million per Year.Where is Ava Max most popular? ›
Ava Max Details
It became her breakthrough single after topping the charts in 26 countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, and New Zealand, while also peaking at number two in Australia, and number 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
Ava Max is a Soprano with a wide vocal range, and therefore, a decent (but not amazing) lower extension. Vocally she did seem more comfortable exploring her lower register with this album, with some low bolds added.
Instead, it became one of her middle names, making her full name Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O'Connell.What are Dua Lipa fans called? ›
|Duran Duran||Durannies||Music group|
Taylor Alison Swift, better known by her stage name Taylor Swift, was born on December 13th, 1989 in West Reading, Pennsylvania, in the United States. This pop artist is 32 years old and an American citizen.Who did Lady Gaga have a kid with? ›
Lady Gaga does not have any children.Why is Lady Gaga in a wheelchair? ›
After undergoing surgery on her hip last month (she has synovitis, an inflammation of the joints that causes pain, swelling and reduced range of motion; sounds like HO!), she was told she had to use a wheelchair until it heals, perhaps as long as 4 months.What is Lady Gaga ethnicity? ›
Who Is Lady Gaga, And Where Did She Come From? Germanotta was born on March 28, 1986 into an Italian American family in New York City.Is Ariana Italian or Hispanic? ›
Grande is of Italian descent and has described herself as an Italian American with Sicilian and Abruzzese roots.What did Ariana Grande change her name to? ›
After she ties the knot with Pete Davidson, Ariana Grande will no longer be known as Ariana Grande — she plans to change her last name. In an interview for Apple Music's Beats 1, the singer said she will legally hyphenate her name to Ariana Grande-Davidson.What is Ariana Grande's real hair color? ›
No stranger to breaking the internet with her hair, Ariana Grande caused a viral sensation when she posted a video of her naturally curly light brown hair on Instagram.Who has won a Grammy 3 times? ›
Three-time winner Stevie Wonder who won in 1974, 1975 and 1977. Three-time winner Paul Simon who won twice as the main credited artist, in 1976 and 1987. Taylor Swift is the first woman to win two and three times as a lead artist, in 2010, 2016 and 2021. U2 is the only group act to win twice, in 1988 and 2006.
LeAnn Rimes is the youngest individual winner. She was 14 years old when she won her first two awards in 1997. She was also the first Country artist to win the Best New Artist Grammy.What Singer holds most GRAMMYs? ›
Beyoncé made history at the 2023 GRAMMYs by becoming the artist with the most GRAMMY wins — ever — when she won the GRAMMY for Best Dance/Electronic Music Album for her 2022 album, Renaissance. Beyoncé now counts 32 total GRAMMY wins.Do you get money from winning a Grammy? ›
Do artists get money for winning a Grammy? The short answer is no: Artists, producers, and/or songwriters do not get a check or monetary amount for winning an award. But what they do get, however, is a whole lot of recognition, and they'll forever be known as "the Grammy award-winning singer _____."How much is a Grammy award worth? ›
Although the award has no value, there is a monetary addition to the winners due to the phenomenon known as the 'Grammy bounce. ' According to Forbes, a sample of artists and producers Grammy-winning artists saw a 55% increase in concert ticket sales and producer fees in the year following their win.What female won the most Grammys? ›
Beyoncé: The woman with the most GRAMMY wins
At the 63rd GRAMMY Awards in 2021, Beyoncé became the performing artist with the most career GRAMMY wins ever (28) as well as the most nominated woman artist (79).
The Oscars are considered one of the most prestigious award shows in the world, and they are presented each year by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Emmy Awards are also highly acclaimed, but the awards are distributed to distinguished individuals, shows, and series in the television industry.What are the big 4 Grammy Awards? ›
In the weeks leading up to the telecast, we will take a stroll through some of the golden moments in GRAMMY history with the GRAMMY Rewind, highlighting the "big four" categories — Album Of The Year, Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year, and Best New Artist — from past awards shows.Why does Ava Max have half short and half long hair? ›
Ava Max revealed to Daily Pop that her signature hairstyle is the result of an accident. According to the singer, she stumbled upon the look – a shoulder-length bob on one side and long hair on the other – while baking cookies about four years ago. She said, “I started cutting a bunch of wigs, coloring wigs.Why is Ava Max's hair half long half short? ›
Ava Max knows her haircut is “polarizing.” “It's a love-hate thing,” Ava tells StyleCaster about her signature half-short, half-long hairstyle. “It's very polarizing.” As she's explained before, Ava's haircut came from an accident after she was baking cookies while cutting her hair and forgot to cut the other side.Why is Ava Max hair uneven? ›
After being questioned about her distinctive haircut at uniwigs, Ava Max stated to Daily Pop that it resulted from an accident that occurred. Her new look, which has a shoulder-length haircut on one side and long hair on the other, was conceived, according to the singer, when she was baking cookies.
Dua Lipa was born in London, the eldest child of Kosovo Albanian parents Anesa (née Rexha) and Dukagjin Lipa from Pristina, FR Yugoslavia (present-day Kosovo). Her family is Muslim. Through her maternal grandmother, she is of Bosniak descent.Is Ava from American Idol a girl or boy? ›
HOLLYWOOD (KABC) -- America voted Los Angeles native Ava Maybee into the Top 14 on "American Idol" and she is excited to keep singing. "I'm really proud for having a super deep voice for a woman.Why is her name Ava Max? ›
Ava Max isn't her real name.
Ava's real name is Amanda Koci, but she gave herself the nickname Ava when she was 13 because she never felt like an "Amanda," she told Vanity Fair. When Ava got signed to her record label, she decided she needed a last name, so she chose Max.
Dua Lipa has had many hair colors over the years, from blond to pink to red. The singer has shared a glimpse of her natural hair color, which is dark brown. Keep scrolling to see Lipa's best hair changes through the years.What language does Dua Lipa speak? ›
The British pop star Dua Lipa stunned crowds in Chile when she spoke Spanish to the fans, but does she actually know the language? Dua Lipa is from England and is of Albanian descent, and thus she speaks both English and Albanian fluently.Is Ava a transvestite? ›
Ava Moore is a trans woman who worked as a professional escort to wealthy older women. Avery was in love with Dr. Barrett Moore (Alec Baldwin) and used his charisma to convince his wealthy female dates to finance Moore's medical research.Who was pregnant on American Idol? ›
Haley Slaton received a ticket to Hollywood at her audition, which aired Sunday. Haley Slaton walked into her American Idol audition a single woman and left with her husband-to-be! The singer, 23, was five-and-a-half months pregnant when she wowed the judges with her audition, which aired Sunday.Who did the pregnant girl on American Idol marry? ›
In October, Iowa singer Haley Slaton, then more than five months pregnant, auditioned before celebrity judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie in Austin, Texas for season 20 of the show. At the tryouts, she met and fell for a fellow contestant, Jordan Myles. Just two months later, the couple tied the knot.