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Interview with Singer-Songwriter Ava Paige

by Dan Reifsnyder, GSC Reporter

Ava PaigeDan Reifsnyder:  You’ve gotten into music very young…you’re only 14! How did that come about?

Ava Paige: I was born into a musical family meaning I’ve always have music around me. Dad and Mom both played musical instruments in school. I picked up my first guitar at 6 and knew right away I wanted to play. Mom and Dad bought me my first guitar for Christmas and I started lessons in January 2011 and have had lessons almost every week since. I play about 5 hours every day! My guitar coach is Corban Calhoun. I started singing before I could talk and writing songs before I could write. I would hand my mom paper and say “I wrote a song, write it down for me!” I started voice lessons at 8 yrs old and still take lessons every week. My Voice Coach is Brian Lucas / VoiceLab.

I knew I liked music, but Memorial Day weekend 2015, my family was eating at a marina restaurant in Old Hickory and Lightning 100 was there doing a karaoke night. I jumped up to sing some songs because no one else was and then Kelly Clarkson was there eating with her family and Reba and Kelly came up to do a song with a friend she was with and when she was done I just asked her to sing with me and she said yes! The entire thing was recorded and on YouTube (I didn’t have a YouTube at the time). News channels came out to interview me and it went a little crazy. Articles came out all over the world and then I knew at that time I wanted to do this the rest of my life.

DR: Who are some of your musical influences?

AP: Well, I have 3 different types of musical influences. For guitar, Eric Clapton, Chris Stapelton, Vince Gill, Tommy Emmanuel, Brad Paisley, and Lindsay Ell. As an artist, Hannah Ellis, Carly Pearce, Ashley McBryde, Chris Stapleton, Nick Wayne, Abby Anderson, Alison Krauss, and Travis Meadows. As a songwriter, Travis Meadows, Brandy Clark, Ashley McBryde, Chris Stapleton, Lori Mckenna, Hannah Ellis, Liz Rose, Natalie Hemby, and Hillary Lindsey

DR:  If you could open for anybody, who would it be?

AP: Chris Stapleton or Ashley McBryde. Why not both!?

DR: What are some songs you wish you’d written?

AP: “Either Way” “Nobody’s Lonely Tonight” “Bible And A .44” “No Peace In Quiet” “If My Name Was Whiskey” “Stripes” “Old Ghost” “Jealous” “Whiskey Lullaby” “Asking For A Friend” “Don’t Close Your Eyes” ”Down To The Honky-Tonk”  “Something In The Water” “Castaway” “Break Up In The End” “What Keeps You Up At Night” and many, many, many more! I could go on and on!

DR: Wow….I’ve been asking that question for years and very few people have come up with that many right off the bat! I understand you’re a bit of a space/science nerd. Tell me about that side of yourself.

AP: I attended Space camp for a week in Huntsville in 2017 and learned so much. I love the idea of going to space and totally would jump in now if I was offered the chance. If you bring up anything with a scientific background I will totally geek out and go totally into detail – this is a quote from my best friend Sarah Manning who is sitting right next to me as I type this! My dad is a private pilot and owns his own business making placards for aircraft. His love of aviation and space just rubbed off on me I guess. He took us all to Florida to watch the last space shuttle launch. We had to make 2 trips because the first one was canceled so we drove all the way home and then went back to Florida when it was rescheduled. It was the most amazing thing. I was young but still remember it well.

DR: How did you get involved with Sheree?

AP:  I met Sheree at an TSAI event and loved her spirit. She just emotes love and encouragement. It took me a little bit to join GSC but when I did I knew it was the best thing i could do. I have since then been mentored by her and she is such a positive light in this crazy business

DR: She absolutely is!  Finding stuff to write and sing about that’s age appropriate must be a challenge. How do you handle that?

AP: Well, I don’t let my age determine the songs I write. My co writers live interesting lives and sometimes the stories in the room are inspiration enough. I do tend to write way older than I am. I do have drinking songs and songs with a few not so 14-yr old words! I do write them and sing them in Writers Rounds as a songwriter. These are not necessarily what I will release as an Artist. I do try to only cut and release songs that are a little more age appropriate. It is hard however because I love deep songs that talk about deep issues. My parents have been married for over 20 years and both sets of grandparents were married until they passed (my one remaining grandfather just got remarried). I can draw inspiration from them. My 16-yr old brother dates and has had girl drama so I get inspiration from that as well. I do school online so I don’t get to see the daily drama of middle school so that’s no help. You can get inspiration from movies, books, other songs as well. Just gotta be on the lookout for a good idea. No, make that a GREAT idea!

DR: Absolutely. And that’s a good policy for anyone. I hear you have a residency at the George Jones here in Nashville. How did that come about?

AP: The George Jones had a writers night and I was invited by a lady who heard me sing. I learned that they had live music there all day and wondered what it would take to sing there. I spoke with the booking guy and he listened to my set an asked me about singing covers. They said I would need 3 hours of music. I said I could do it so at 13 years old I landed a residency at The George Jones and then it moved to 2 days a week. Currently, due to the season, its only on Mondays 11-2pm for lunch. I love it there and the sound guys treat me so amazing. You should totally stop in and grab lunch. I recommend the burgers!

DR: Do you have any projects that you’re working on right now?

AP: I am releasing a single “Ride” in the next couple of weeks. I wrote this with Dave Quirk, another GSC member. It received an award last month Best Young Adult Song at the World Songwriting Awards.

I also have another single “Prettier Poison” coming out late March. I wrote this with the very talented Erica Sunshine Lee. I recorded it at The Tracking Room with some amazing musicians including Brent Mason on lead guitar. It was produced by Grammy Award winner, Zach Allen. It’s a killer production and I can’t wait to share it. Big thanks to Johnny Dwinell from Daredevil Production for putting this all together. I currently signed to work with Country Music Vibe who will be booking me some shows/festivals and I’m very excited to work with them.