Ava Max manages to turn heartbreak into club banger

When Ava Max Leaves Her Dancing Debut Album 'Heaven and Hell ' In 2020, songs like "Sweet but Psycho" and "Kings & Queens" cemented her status as an empowering figure of self-acceptance for Gen Z outsiders. Max, 29, tells Bustle: “My first album is personal, but it’s more about my career — how it feels to be a woman in this industry trying to make this album, and The feeling that I was never going to make it. "I just wanted to make fun dancefloor music." That was the case when she first started recording her sophomore record , Diamonds & Dancefloors . But then her heart was broken.

After the breakup, Max relied on making music as an outlet for grief and healing. “I’ve always lived and breathed music, and I still do,” Max said. "It was very weird and emotional, like a roller coaster ride." The result is an album that sounds like a diary reading in a club, from cinematic songs like "Hold Up, Wait A Minute," which tackles potential infidelity. , to breakup songs like "Maybe You're The Problem."

It was Max's most difficult creative process, portraying the sadness in her relationship. "It was very difficult for me because I was going to the studio right away to sing and write it down," she said. "It was very therapeutic, but I think it also added to the heartbreak of the time."

"It's still sad, but you can at least dance now. You don't have to just cry."

In response, Max turned some of his most heartbreaking songs into pop hits. "I wrote 'One of Us' as a ballad, but I just felt like I didn't want to be so sentimental and sad in the songs on this album," she said. "I quickly made it into a dance song because I couldn't handle the sadness. It's still sad, but you can at least dance now. You don't have to just cry."

Below, Max talks about her love of pop music, her plans for her last night on earth, and why she can no longer sing Bette Midler's classic song.

On Her Apocalyptic Project and the Power of Pop Music

What is the magic of pop music to you?

It just makes you feel, the lyrics are so powerful and intense and it's danceable and I think it all comes together. I think I've always been a big fan of pop music because it makes you feel good.

What are your favorite karaoke songs?

I don’t go to karaoke anymore, but when I do it’s “I Wanna Dance with Someone” by Whitney Houston. Now, I love watching people do this.

What song would you like to play at your wedding?

Oh my goodness. Maybe "The Verve"? So beautiful.

What was the first song you slow danced to in middle school?

It's Arthur. What's the name of the song? [ Singing ] "I wanna have sex in this club, in this club." It's so good.

What was the first CD you bought?

" ...Baby One More Time" by Britney Spears, pink and blue version.

On her country dreams and why she can't sing Bette Midler anymore

Is there an instrument you wish you could play?

I started taking violin lessons when I was young but never finished it, so it must have been the violin.

Is there a song that you no longer want to play live anymore?

Probably "my way".

Is there a genre that you’d like to create but haven’t yet?

Oh, I love my motherland. I dabbled in country music, but I wanted to do a pop country song. A bit of a crossover.

Is there a song you can no longer listen to, and why?

"The Wind Beneath My Wings" by Bette Midler. I sang this song at my grandma's funeral.

What’s the weirdest thing about a song you’ve ever written?

Apocalyptic movie.

In honor of that song ("Last Night on Earth"), if you only had one night left on Earth, what would you do?

If I only had one night left on earth, I would want to eat my favorite meal, party, drink, be with my family and friends, and have sex.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity .