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by Tori Sharp

“It’s impossible for me to write a non-empowering song.”

Breaking into the music industry was not all smooth sailing for Ava Max, she tells me on our Zoom call last week. Her perseverance and grit are palpable as she recounts how hard she had to work to find her place in the music world. “I started when I was 8 years old, I moved to California with my Mom when I was 14, and that didn’t work out and we came back East, then I went back out again when I was 17, it was l like I would not quit because I felt like this was my calling.”

Her new song Who’s Laughing Now? is an anthemic tune that “isn’t a revenge song as much” but is proof of how far Ava Max has come since her first days in LA. The line “Don’t you know that I’m stronger” is representative of the feelings that this song projects. “I’m stronger than your words and that’s super important to me. The message of the song is just overcoming everything that life throws at you.” Max jokes that it is impossible for her to write a non-empowering song but looking at the success and acclaim she has received over the last few years, I think it is safe to say that this is a winning formula.

Her inspiration always comes from her past, harking back to times where she struggled as a child, and going through some tough experiences, has ultimately allowed her to make music that has meaning and value. Music and performing, she tells me, allows her to transform into a different person. Usually she hates attention and being in the spotlight, but being on stage, all of that falls away. “As soon as I start singing, I feel like I grow some type of wings, I become this different person who can perform in front of thousands of people.” The energy from her fans gives her the confidence to be on stage and be the self-assured artist that her music symbolises.

Looking forward, this is what Max is most excited about when the lockdown ends, to see her fans, hug her supporters and get back on stage; the place where she feels most at home. Stream Who’s Laughing Now? now!

Charlotte Rutherford
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