Despite the COVID pandemic, Ava Sophia seems to be having a pretty good year so far. With still two months to go in 2020, she has been nominated for not one but two Boston Music Awards (you should totally vote for her here), she released a new single with Tashawn Taylor, Love Language, courtesy of the 617 Sessions compilation ‘Sound of Our Own Town 2020’, and she is still dreaming big for 2021 and beyond.
Ava was kind enough to catch up with the Hassle to talk about her new single with Tashawn Taylor, Love Language, the bright spots of 2020, and what records she would take with her to a desert island.
Boston Hassle: Tell me about yourself and why you chose to go into music?
Ava Sophia: For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been drawn to both performing and being creative. Growing up I had parents who listened to a huge variety of music, but what really stuck with me was my mom’s love for 2000’s R&B. She was the first person to expose me to Lauryn Hill, Mary J Blige, Brandy, Alicia Keys, many of my other most valuable musical inspirations. I think I was attracted to those artists because listening to them made me feel empowered to speak my truth and find strength in my vulnerability. I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember informally, and as I started to become more serious about music I took voice lessons, studied music theory, and began writing my own songs. I started performing publicly in Boston when I was seventeen and had some of my first experiences booking my own shows and representing myself as a solo artist during that time. Since then, I’ve learned so much about how to carry myself as a professional and become so much more confident in what I have to say as an artist. I can’t imagine life having gone any other way for me.
BH: “Love Language” is a great song. Do you have any plans for releases either before the end of this year or in 2021?
AS: Thank you! I would like to release more singles in 2021! After my previous 4-song EP, I feel like I need more time to grow and experiment as an artist before I start envisioning a whole new project. But I would like to use the time to release singles and try something new with each one. I want to bring more people into my creative process, and maybe even not take myself as seriously!
BH: It is exceptionally easy these days to dwell on the negativity of the COVID pandemic and the ensuing social distancing measures. However, are you able to find a bright spot in all of it? What have been some highlights from 2020 so far for you?
AS: Receiving two Boston Music Award nominations has definitely been a highlight! It was emotionally shocking to me to accomplish such a long-term goal with the backdrop of such a turbulent year. Aside from anything business related, creatively, I’ve had more time to push myself and dream big for what I want my sound to be going forward. Imagining new arrangements, instrumentation, song concepts, and potential collaborations has been an extremely fulfilling way to use some of my newfound free time.
BH: I want to return to the song “Love Language”. What inspired the song? How do you feel about the song when you listen to it now that it is finished?
AS: I’ve gravitated towards the idea of love languages for a while. The concept was inspiring to me because love and communication are so informed by one’s experiences with cultural/racial identity, family, gender, past trauma, etc. My goal was to honor the process of learning to love someone for exactly who they are in a lighthearted way. I knew I wanted a feature on the song, specifically a rapper, and I wanted whoever it was to embody softness, playfulness, and vulnerability in their lyricism and delivery. With that in mind, I immediately thought of Tashawn. Initially when I wrote the song, I wasn’t thinking at all about using it to apply to 617 Sessions or that it would take me this far. I’m so grateful for the opportunities this song has afforded me, and the whole process of making it happen was fun and joyus from start to finish.
BH: You’re trapped on a desert island and you are only allowed to take three albums with you? Which records do you choose?
AS: For me, the answer to this question is ever changing. But currently? Diary of Alicia Keys (Alicia Keys). B7 (Brandy). Cleo (Oompa).
To listen to more of Ava’s music, vist her spotify
Follow Ava on instagram: @Avasophiamusic.
And check out the 617 sessions here.)
Chris Hues is a human & writer from Boston, Ma & Associate Editor of bostonhassle.com. //// They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @crsjh_ via instagram & twitter.