By her own admission, the last few years have been a “wild ride” for pop singer-songwriter Ava Max.
In the spring of 2018, she released her singles “My Way” and “Slippin,” but it wasn’t until that August when she gained international attention with her single “Sweet but Psycho.” Produced by Cirkut — who has worked with the likes of Rihanna, the Weeknd, Britney Spears, Jessie J, Kesha, Shakira, and Nicki Minaj, to name a few — the song peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and hit No. 1 in more than a dozen countries, including four weeks at the top spot on the Official U.K. Singles Chart.
Fast-forward to 2019, and Max, whose real name is Amanda Ava Koci, has a few key nominations under her belt, including for the MTV VMAs’ Best New Artist and two Teen Choice Awards. Not bad for someone whose debut album isn’t even out yet (though she says she’s aiming to release that this year, too).
For the latest in EW’s “In the Basement” series, Max sat down to perform her newest song, “Freaking Me Out,” which she says is unlike anything else on her yet-to-be-titled album.
“Most of the songs on the album that’s coming out are very pop and anthemic and strong, and just pretty big. And this one’s more vulnerable and toned down,” she says, adding, “Yeah, it’s a wild card.”
According to the singer, “Freaking Me Out” describes the feeling of “going crazy over somebody without knowing why or how it even happened.”
“It’s almost as if you’re asking yourself, how did I even let this happen? Because I’m really liking this person, [and] it’s freaking me out so much that I’m hearing things in the hallway; I’m seeing things; I’m seeing life in a different way because of this person,” she says. “It’s quite romantic, actually.”
Max explains that she really wanted to include the song on the album because she feels it shows a different side of her, the part of her she calls her “soft side.”
And though she says the last few years have “been a blast,” Max is ready for her fans to see the rest of what she has to offer.
“I think for me personally, I just can’t wait to release my debut album so people could really get a glimpse of what I’ve been working on for the last three years, and I just can’t wait to get on stage and start my headline show,” she says.
In fact, it’s the act of releasing new music that is her favorite aspect of creating it. “My favorite part about writing a song is really when it’s released, and I can see that it relates to so many people,” she says. “If I can make someone’s day brighter, happier, better, that makes me happier.”