Young singer-songwriter from Alaska, Ava Earl, on her new single “Forever Girl”

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Photo by Shannon Earl

Ava Earl is a prolific young singer-songwriter from the small mountain town of Girdwood, Alaska. Known for her intricate fingerpicking and graceful melodies, Ava’s music reflects the landscape she’s grown up in—open, raw, beautiful. Today, she is releasing a new single, “Forever Girl” about a woman escaping an abusive relationship.

At just eighteen years old, she has written and co-produced three full-length albums. Am I Me Yet? is her latest work, released in July 2018. The collection of fifteen songs features Ava on guitar and vocals, Andy Mullen on guitar and bass, and Anna Tivel on violin. The album was recorded at The Hallowed Halls studio in Portland, Oregon, and was engineered by Hawkins Wright who also co-produced the album.

An engaging performer, Ava thrives in a live concert setting, drawing audiences in with her music and stories. She’s as comfortable performing in large auditoriums as she is on festival stages and in listening room showcases. Highlight performances over the years include opening for Maggie Rogers (Nov 2017); playing with Parlor in the Round (Jan 2020, Mar 2018); performing at Salmonfest (Aug 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019); opening for Rhett Miller (Sep 2018); and opening for Tim Easton (Mar 2019).

Ava traveled to Nashville in February to record a new album. It is her first project with full arrangements and was produced by JT Nero of the Birds of Chicago. The album release date is ever-nearing.

Interview follows the video.

What inspired your single “Forever Girl”?

“Forever Girl” is a story about a woman escaping an abusive relationship. While the song hits at both psychological and physical abuse, it can be interpreted differently, and I wanted the song to be able to speak to a range of experiences. I also wanted to highlight the resiliency of women in the face of adversity, and I have been and continue to be incredibly inspired by many women in my life––this song is for them.

What was the songwriting process? 

“Forever Girl” actually came together very quickly (I think it was just over half an hour). I wrote the song while sitting on my bed. I picked up my guitar and started singing until the idea formed in my mind, and then it wasn’t long before I had the whole song written.

Tell us about the recording process and where it was recorded.

I also recorded this song in my bedroom! I sent a voice memo of the song to Steve, who then laid down the rhythm guitar track. When he sent me back the guitar, I put my vocals on top. I have a small Tascam recorder that I used to record, and I listened to the guitar in one ear and my vocals in the other.

What do you hope your fans/listeners take away with them when they listen to your music?

No matter what song I’m playing, I always hope that people can connect to the music in some way. The most meaningful compliments I’ve received are when people tell me that my songs resonated with them. For “Forever Girl,” the meaning behind the song is overall just about female strength and resiliency, but I also think it applies to a lot of people, perhaps in different ways than I originally intended. Either way, I hope that people enjoy the song, and I hope they can connect to it as well.

How did you get started in music?

My first guitar teacher really inspired me to be creative with music. Her name is Melanee, and we are still close friends. She encouraged me to make songs my own when I played them, and her dad gave me my first gig! Knowing that I had a safe space to experiment and be myself was really important to my musical development—open mics were also a great place for me to do this.

Which musicians/vocalists have had the biggest impact on your musical style?

My answer for this literally changes daily! At the moment, I would say Taylor Swift, Laura Marling, Andrew Bird, and Fiona Apple.

What’s next?

I have a very exciting summer ahead in terms of releasing music! My second single, “Cimorene,” will be released next month, and following that, I’ll be releasing a few singles from my album The Roses before it comes out in July. I can’t wait to get this music out into the world, especially The Roses, which I have been waiting to release for a year and a half.

 

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