Ava Rowland wasn’t even born in the 1970’s, yet she takes on a country disco sound for her new single and video, “Love Away The Lonely” that releases today. The fun melody belies the more serious lyrics as Rowland suggests that she can be the one to “love away the lonely” for the guy who just had his heart broken.
“We came into the session open minded about what we wanted to write,” Rowland recalls the day she and Britton Cameron wrote the song. “We were just playing with different sounds on the computer, trying to get the vibe of the writing session, and we found this disco line that we thought was cool. You don’t hear this in country music today, so we came up with the phrase love away the lonely, about the singer wanting to love away the lonely for this guy, wanting to help him fix his broken heart. We carried the disco sound into the video.”
Rowland and Cameron also worked together on the idea for the video. “Sometimes the idea for the music video doesn’t come right away, but we came up with this one the day we wrote the song. We set it the era of the 70s and it all came together. We rented a cottage in Alabama that was decorated in a 70’s theme. That was a blessing, we just had to get a few props here and there and it all came together.”
The opening of the video is a perfect set up for the song, from the retro 45 record player, the funky lamps and the lava lamp to the singer’s white disco boots and daisy-themed mini dress.
Rowland says she really loves to write a ballad so when this up-tempo song came along she was happy to have it in her repertoire to release as a single. “I wanted the song to be a single because of how different it is,” she explains. “I think it is a fun song. Plus, lately I’ve been singing slow songs. I’m a sucker for the ballads, they are my favorite. I enjoy writing the slower songs, so this was a fast song and I thought the sound and feel of the it was perfect to release now.”
Rowland just turned 23 but she has known since she was four years old that she wanted to be a singer. “I think I chose music as a career because of being around it ever since I was little. Music can tell stories that change lives and impact the world, so music was my outlet for doing that.
“I grew up in Ohio, grew up in church, my parents were worship leaders, my uncles and grandfathers played guitar, so it was in my blood to be a singer,” she says. “I always sang ever since I can remember, but the first time I sang in front of audience it was at church. When I was in the fourth grade, I climbed up the steps to the church alter and sang in front of an audience. I sang ‘We Fall Down’ and I can remember it vividly. Hannah Montana was a big deal at the time and she wore those bright colors so that is what I chose to wear that day. After I finished singing, I remember thinking ‘I actually enjoyed this, and I could do this for a living’.”
That’s an interesting thought for a fourth grader, but it wasn’t a random one. From that time forward, Rowland emersed herself in music. She watched Miley Cyrus as Hannah Montana on TV and she considers Selena Quintanilla-Pérez the entertainer who she really looked up to. “She was my biggest influence in music. She is a Spanish singer, and J. Lo played her in the movie Selena back in the 90s. She was so powerful; she was so genuine.”
Rowland’s mother says her daughter was always singing. In fact, Rowland can remember times when her mother asked her not to sing. “She would say, ‘Ava can you not sing for a second. I’m trying to concentrate on this.’ Both parents are totally supportive of Rowland and her choice as music for a career.
Once she graduated from high school in 2017 Rowland has been doing music full time. Although she could have pursued a career in Christian music, she chose to concentrate on country music. “I love many different genres of music,” Rowland says. “I grew up the Disney channel, so I didn’t grow up on just country. The first time I actually remember hearing a country album, I knew I wanted to sing country music. I love Carrie Underwood but the album that changed it for me was Taylor Swift’s Red album. That was the point where I felt country music was where I wanted to go.
“I started writing songs when I was about 16 but they weren’t very good. I did mostly cover songs but I had one or two songs I wrote that I would sing out at my show. I listened to them not too long ago and I thought, ‘Oh those songs were not very good’.”
As with all artists, the pandemic slowed down Rowland’s career. Instead of being on the road, she released songs via social media and continued to build her fan base. “Next year I hope to be very busy with my music. I’m currently not in Nashville full time but hope to be in 2022. I will keep writing and recording, getting more material out there to the right people. I do hope to have a lot of live shows next year. This last summer I didn’t have any weekends free because I was out playing, so that was good.”
Rowland is thrilled at the prospect of being on the road and having her own show. “I actually saw Taylor live about the time the Red album was out. She has a great show. I think when I get the chance to put my show together, I love clothes so there will be a lot of clothes. Since my roots are in church, I would want to end my show with a worship song. I do that now because that is where I started. I’m really excited to get to the point where I can help organize my own show.”
Rowland says that faith has brought her through when she was having hard times in her life. “I started singing in church, faith was my entire life. If I didn’t have Jesus I would be going crazy. I’m not perfect but he is, so it balances out. There are times you feel like you’re not getting anywhere, and why would that person get the opportunity that I don’t. You are happy for them but you are like, ‘I don’t get it.’ I definitely had many times with music where I wished I was further along. I think, ‘I’m working hard, doing everything possible, but I feel like I’m not getting through.’ I just have to remember that God’s timing is better than anything I could imagine. I have many conversations with God, where I say, ‘I know your timing is better but I don’t like your timing!’ Patience always comes in to it.”
Rowland has the opportunity to meet young fans and is often asked for advice from those who are aspiring singers. “After my shows I love meting fans, they are so sweet. Sometimes they come up and cry because a song I sang touched them. When they ask for advice I tell them this industry is not easy. The first thing is to keep God in the center or you will go crazy if you don’t. I tell them no matter what anyone says, like music is not a real job and you won’t get anywhere with it, remember that it is and you will. Your brain is so powerful, train yourself to be positive. It’s all about pushing through life. Always be kind. If you’re not nice they are not going to buy your music.”