Amanda Ava Koci is sweet — but not a psycho. Even though she’s been through her fair share of challenges while growing up. The Albian-American pop songwriter burst onto the pop scene late last summer with a hit that pinpoints the “Sweet But Psycho” juxtaposition most people have encountered in their life, and the all-too-relatable song broke into the top ten of the Billboard chart as well as becoming an international hit in plenty of other countries.
Since then, Max has been traveling the world, performing at massive venues like Wembley Stadium in London, where she performed for almost 90,000 people. But, like most people, there were plenty of struggles that Ava went through long before she had a hit song on the radio, and she took a moment recently to share some of her personal story dealing with grief at a young age.
After her grandmother’s death, Ava Max did what a lot of people do when they’re in pain — she started partying. Ava, who is a first-generation American born to Albanian immigrants, faced the same struggles with her family that a lot of immigrants do. Her parents both worked multiple jobs to try to provide a better life for their daughter, and struggled with the language barrier, which meant Ava spent most of her time when she was younger with her grandmother.
Born in Wisconsin and growing up in Virginia, when her grandmother finally did pass in 2011, Ava was out in California. It was such a blow to her that she spun out: “I thought I died,” Max said. “You feel like you lost a part of you, with someone who raised you. So that was really tough for me, 2011 was my hardest year. At the time, I got a little crazy. I didn’t know how to cope with it, so I just started partying a lot. That wasn’t a healthy thing, back then. I don’t drink really at all now, because I think about sad times when I drink, so, I don’t drink anymore.”
So while pubs weren’t a priority during the trip to London, shopping was, and Ava also walks Imported through all her favorite style choices, before diving back into the tough stuff, discussing her experience with bullying when she was a teen. “I got kicked out of seventh grade, and I went to a Christian school,” she remembers. “And then my mom took me out of that school because I was told I could only sing of God. These were really sad moments for me, I didn’t want to go to school. I was being bullied, like death threats. I cried not to go to school.”
Watch her discuss all this and more in the interview above.
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