At just 19 years old, Ava Suppelsa has already had a career that rivals musicians twice her age. She is a self taught guitarist and accomplished songwriter. She played her first live show at age 13 and never looked back. She’s received national recognition for her songwriting from the International Songwriting Competition, American Songwriting Awards, Great American Songwriting Contest and more.
In 2015, she was named a Young Arts Winner, a competition supported by the National Endowment of the Arts. Out of 11,000 applicants, she was one of 6 selected Singer/Songwriters. There she worked with and was mentored by legendary artists like Chris Young, Josh Groban and Desmond Child. A captivating performer, Ava has performed at venues across the country and has opened for artists such as Grammy-Nominee Hunter Hayes, popular indie songwriter Andrew Belle, and more. She is currently a sophomore at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, where she studies songwriting and music business. She continues to write and perform and released her debut EP on February 10th.
"This is a song that I wrote about addiction and the way it has personally affected my life. Addiction awareness is a cause that is very close to me - when I was 14 my dad went into treatment for alcoholism. It's something that I don't think gets enough help and attention and carries a heavy stigma along with it. I hoped that by writing this song and sharing my side of the story, I could shed some light on what it's like for the addict as well as family members. I plan on donating a portion of the sales from my debut EP, which includes "Finish Line", to the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation to support this cause."
How would you characterize your musical style?
I like to call my style "country without the twang." I'm a city girl born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, but grew up listening to country and fell in love with it at a young age. I love the storytelling and the songwriting of the genre and started writing like that from an early age. However, I sing with more of a pop style, which keeps my music from having the traditional country "twang," fusing the two styles together.
Who are you - what is your story?
I'm your typical teenage girl: I go to college, I like to hang out with my friends and watch Netflix. But I'm also a self proclaimed obsessive musician. I read a quote that said "Don't give up on anything you can't go a day without thinking about." I've applied that to my life since I was 12 and started playing. I'm self-taught and simply started writing music to get my emotions on paper. People seemed to like what I wrote and things just took off for me. It's easy to be dedicated to something you love so much.
What do you think is the difference between good music and great music?
I think the difference between good and great music is honesty. The best songs in history are the ones that are genuine, honest and tell a story people can relate to. There's nothing like a song that bares the writer's heart and soul so much that you feel like it's your story as well.
What are the biggest challenges of being a young musician?
A big challenge I've faced in my life as a young musician is trying to balance being a kid and a student as well as a professional musician. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices to have a career in music so young. I remember missing a lot of school in high school because of amazing music opportunities. The downside was that I missed out on social things: school dances, friend's birthdays, and school work. It was completely worth it but it's important and hard to find the right balance.
What does it mean to be chosen as a Pavoh Music Awards Finalist?
It's incredibly exciting to be chosen as a finalist. It's validation that what you're doing is good and that you should continue to work and pursue the dream. Of course all artists have their doubts from time to time about whether or not they actually have what it takes to be successful, and these kind of things are outside validation that you shouldn't give up. It's a huge honor to get to share a stage with these other talented young artists and to play at such an iconic venue as well. I can't wait.