Dolly Ave reveals the songs that remind her of travel
Rising creative Dolly Ave is a master of many talents. An accomplished photographer who’s collaborated with numerous big brands (Redbull, Nike and Noisey) and famous musicians (Migos, Ed Sheeran, Kendrick Lamar) on a raft of projects, Ave is also a singer-songwriter with a burgeoning musical career.
Born to Vietnamese immigrants in Kansas City, Ave‘s childhood was spent moving from one small midwestern town to another as her parents looked for work. Similar to many immigrant children, her family wanted to give her a stable, simple life, but Ave wanted more. Inheriting the creativity gene from her parents – her dad played the guitar – Ave became obsessed with music at a young age, specifically Vanessa Carlton. Amazed at her ability to play piano and sing, she inspired Ave to take up the piano many years after first having lessons while in high school.
It was a few years back in 2018 when Ave finally dropped her first single ‘Birds.’ Encouraged by friends to follow her musical dreams, Ave released the track too much fanfare from music blogs. She followed it up by singing on producer VESHZA’s downtempo single ‘Quiet.’ Juggling her photography work with her burgeoning music career, Ave entered the studio last year to begin recording her debut EP Sleep. Ave describes the six-track EP as a “collection of lo-fi songs that sit at the intersection of pop, R&B and bedroom vulnerability, and tracks the ebb and flows of a relationship.” Recorded after a break-up, the EP is a personal exploration of the feelings and thoughts Ave went through during this time.
Having found herself back in the limelight this year with her collaboration with rapper Charlie Curtis-Beard on ‘Sunlight, Quiet, Flowers,’ a song that trended #1 on TikTok’s Original Music for 7 straight days, Ave gave fans the first taste of her EP in the form of synth-pop bedroom production ‘Noise.’ As the release of the album gets closer Ave has just dropped the second single from the project, ‘Florida.’ A dreamy vision of lost relationships and the feelings that come with a break-up, ‘Florida’ is another exceptional song from Ave. Discussing the song, she explained;
I wrote this song two years ago during a time where I needed to find closure on my own. I drove in my shitty Honda all the way from LA to San Diego to meet Fate and sang on this cheap microphone I had at the time. Sometimes you need to let it out and find ways to express yourself during a time of grief 🤍 thanks for listening and I hope you find closure at the end of this crazy era.
To celebrate the release of ‘Florida’ and Ave’s forthcoming EP Sleep, she’s kindly picked five songs that remind her of travelling and places she’s been across America.
Lany – Tampa
This song has a similar tone and instrumentation to my song. I actually wrote the song before hearing this song and it was uncanny that the subject is about the place Florida as well. I never actually visited the state. It is symbolism for a person there. Lany is a great storyteller when it comes to heartbreak because the main singer references intimate details that are relatable enough to the audience but specific enough that we know his story. His electronic elements add variety to a sad song. I listen to this song now and then and it brings me to the same atmosphere I had when writing my own.
Banks – Crowded Places
One of my favourite songs from Banks. What I love about this song is that she describes distance in terms of touring and moments in L.A. but also addresses distance in who she is addressing. I admire her music because she doesn’t need any bells and whistles and takes pride in her vulnerability with slower, gentler songs.
Anderson Paak – ‘Til it’s Over
Los Angeles is this song in a nutshell for me and helped me accept the terms of my situation. This city is busy and you can get caught up in all the sunshine and opportunity the city offers, however, when it’s grey for a day or your world is falling apart the rose-coloured glasses shatter. When I was going through heartbreak I needed a song that was more about closure and being thankful for a situation rather than bargaining when things are done.
Frank Ocean – White Ferrari
Frank Ocean has a beautiful way of composing songs. He doesn’t play into the usual format of songwriting. The song is a breath of fresh air and it leaves you hanging at the same time. I love harmonies and he does a beautiful set of stacked vocals during the lines “In this Life.” Incredible inspiration to my music if I ever feel bold enough to step away from what I feel I should write versus what I want to experiment with.
Gia Margaret – Looking
Her album overall helped me through the feelings I was going through as well as inspired elements to my song ‘Florida.’ Gia is a friend I met in Chicago. Sometimes songs don’t need to be specific towards a location and just reminds you of a city because of their essence. If you’re reading this Gia, thanks for making your album. You helped me through my heartbreak and also inspired me to write my story for others to hear. What inspired me with some of her tracks is that she isn’t afraid to distort her vocals or use samples which I play a lot within this album. It isn’t clean and I love that.
Sleep EP is set for release March 26.
Introduction by TOBIAS HANDKE
Image: Dolly Ave