Meet Ava Maybee, the rising indie-pop/R&B sensation who recently released her debut single, “Lay Low,” a collaboration with Grammy-nominated producer Emile Ghantous, who co-wrote and produced the song.
“Lay Low” pays tribute to true friendship while simultaneously dissing the self-indulgent masquerade of the hookup culture.
Explaining, Ava shares, “I love the fact that songs can mean different things to different people depending on their life experiences. That’s the beauty of music. For me personally, ‘Lay Low’ empowers me as a young woman to play the ‘pre-game’ before I go into a club and spend amazing quality time with my friends. Sometimes for people my age, the idea of hooking up with someone takes precedence and they don’t enjoy the night.’
She goes on to add, “There’s always this need for human connection and validation, but when that takes over your mind, you lose the purpose of the night, which was to go out and enjoy your friends. This is a song I wish I could have listened to myself before I was old enough to go out like that. In the larger context of 2020, it’s a call to keep your loved ones close and have a small group of people who have your back. Meeting new people right now is not as important as those longstanding friendships.”
Hooking up with Ghantous demonstrates Ava’s insight: the amalgamation of funk-pop nuances with the sparkle of indie-pop provides “Lay Low” with the essential ingredient absent in today’s pop music – sonic flair and stylish frisson.
According to Ava, “Emile and I felt an immediate creative vibe with each other. Emile comes from the ’90s hip hop world, and I grew up influenced more by classic rock and Motown, but it was clear we were on the same page. We each have our own toolbox to draw from. My lower range makes R&B a natural fit, but my tendency for toplining ventures more towards pop.”
Coming from a musical family, Ava grew up immersed in music, singing in her church’s gospel choir, and singing along to her mother’s Motown records at home. Her father, Chad Smith, is the drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, while her maternal grandmother sang in Portugal.
By the time she was 7-years-old, Ava was performing at charity events in L.A. After going through spine surgery for double scoliosis, she increased her charitable commitments: appearances at the Violence Intervention Program/HEARTbeats concert and the Global Women’s Rights Awards, along with receiving a long list of awards, including the Dean’s Award from Berklee School of Music’s songwriting workshop.
“Lay Low” opens on oscillating shimmers of synths flowing into a funk-lite groove driven by a thick, plush, vibrating bassline. Ava’s exquisitely voluptuous tones echo sumptuous textures, at once steamy and dripping with smoky R&B savors, creamy yet subtly lingering.
Without a doubt, Ava’s voice is ineffably deluxe, simultaneously bewitching, and supple, imbuing the lyrics with spellbinding coloration.
“Saturday night, Saturday night / You wanna take the party back home / Some other night, some other night / I know you want out the friend zone / Saturday night, Saturday night / You say you wanna be my ride home / Some other night some other night / I’m just here trynna lay low.”
“Lay Low” is superb, creating a grand, sexy atmospheric experience capped by the lusciously redolent voice of Ava Maybee.