We had the good fortune of connecting with Ava McCoy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ava, why did you pursue a creative career?
I decided to pursue an artistic career at a very young age, knowing that I always wanted to do something that made me happy. I have been fortunate enough to have an incredible support system throughout my life, and my family has always encouraged me to follow my heart. Music is what makes me feel alive, and it is the reason for so much of my fulfillment. I love how much it challenges me, and I am constantly discovering new and exciting music that keeps me creatively engaged. I have actively been looking for music that gives me a sense of discomfort, as I find that I do not experience that emotion from music very often. I love to push the envelope and give myself lofty challenges to tap into my potential, such as learning new instruments or recording a song in a style that I typically do not gravitate towards. I feel my career path was set out for me at a young age, and I have never wanted to do anything else with my life. To put as much energy as I do into music into anything else would be an inauthentic representation of who I am.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ve played music my entire life. It was always around me, as both my parents played instruments, and they loved listening to music as well. I have been heavily influenced by Folk, Americana, Soul, R&B, Rock and Punk because of them, and that has led me to finding my niche as an artist. Growing up as a native New Yorker I was fortunate to be in the creative hub of the world, with so much deep music history. I have gigged at many venues throughout New York, including Gramercy Theater and the Bitter End. I love the live music scene in New York, and learned so much from playing live, as well as various after-school music programs. I’ve been working on my debut LP for almost two years. and it has embodied so many different emotions throughout the process. This was my first project self-producing on a few of the tracks, which was a challenge but a necessary learning experience. I’ve been teaching myself bass since recording on my own, which totally changed how I approach songwriting. This album fast-tracked my motivation musically, which has led me to create all different kinds of songs- some ridiculous, some serious, some sad, some lively. Every song was a labor of love. I had to hash out a lot of tough feelings in order to capture the texture of each track. I also experienced issues during the recording process, but I overcame many of my dilemmas by asking questions of my friends. I’m fortunate to go to school with so many talented musicians who give me great tips.
After years of playing live music I’ve experimented with many different styles, while trying to find my sound and grow my voice. Recently I’ve landed on Alternative Folk Rock as my genre, which feels appropriate for where I’m at in my life. Being in my early twenties during a pandemic has led me to do a lot of self reflection, and I’ve made a commitment to myself to stay away from any negativity that I can actively avoid. These songs are a release of hardships and growing pains throughout my young adulthood, and they all possess a feeling of hope. After this project I’m hoping to create some harsher, but happier songs. I want them to show how far I’ve come. I find peace in the trees and mountains, which inspired the imagery and merch for this particular album. I love damp, dark landscapes, and they’ve always comforted me since my family lives in the Pacific Northwest. Channeling that through my music was a reminder of my roots, and how much I have healed in the outdoors.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I have so many favorite spots in New York. B&H Dairy in the East Village is my favorite spot for late-night vegetarian eats. Gotham Pizza which is all throughout the city is one of my go-to spots to grab a slice. I also love Artichoke Pizza. Mercer Street Books in Greenwich Village has great finds, as well as Printed Matter on St. Marks if you are looking for smaller, local publications. When I feel like splurging I shop at Tokio 7, a consignment store in the East Village, or Beacon’s Closet which has locations all around. I love going to Chinatown for the food, and stores like Kam Man. Every time I’m home I explore new parts of the city that I’ve never seen. I like supporting the businesses that are small and legendary- Barney Green Grass, Veselka, etc. I love going to the Whitney, MoMa, and the Met often to see what interchanging artist instillations they have, as well as the permanent collections that I’ve loved since I was a kid. I often will try to find rooftop shows in Brooklyn or Manhattan for local and touring bands in the area, which always introduces me to a new crowd. New York is integral to who I am, and I could go on and on about the places that I would recommend. Anywhere with a rich history and dedication to small business practices are the places I enjoy supporting the most.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to dedicate this shoutout to Pearce Gronek and Fletcher Barton of Lonely Pirate Committee, one of my favorite bands. They’ve been two of my closest friends since the start of my time at Berklee College of Music. I’ve been fortunate enough to watch them work for a while, and we work together on my own music as well. They are entirely self-sufficient, and have a clear vision for their band. I’m so excited to see how far they go with their talents, and they’ve inspired me so much as I’ve recorded over the past few years. They are definitely ones to watch in the Indie music scene.
Madison Everett, Amelia McDonnell.