Music

Ava Max on Proudly Entering ‘My Oh My’ Era With No Heartbreak, No Man Attached: ‘This Is the Beginning Of Me’

Ava Max is proudly stepping into her new era without any baggage. “I hope my music continues to heal,” the 30-year-old “Sweet But Psycho” singer tells Billboard about preparing for her third album cycle with “no heartbreak attached and no man attached.”

She says that crucial element is tied to the vibe of the untitled collection’s debut single, the bouncy “My Oh My,” which feels like “the beginning of me.” In fact, things are so fresh that Max feels like she’s preparing to release her first album all over again.

The upcoming collection is, of course, not her debut, but rather the follow-up to 2023’s sophomore effort, Diamonds & Dancefloors, which featured the singles “Maybe You’re the Problem,” “Million Dollar Baby” and “Weapons,” among others. “For the first time I’m really finding myself, honing in on healing… I really feel like this is everyone’s healing era,” Max says of the in-process album she hopes will make her fans feel incredible so that they can go out and have fun with their friends without any relationship drama hanging over them.

“My Oh My” definitely hits that vibe, with its throwback dance pop vibe, lyrical nods to “90s paparazzi” and dancing in a room full of strangers in a scene straight out of a movie. The mood she wanted to strike in the video for the song was “90s grunge dance,” with no storyline and a focus on just busting out fun choreo with her dancers, which, not for nothing, Max choreographed herself.

“I wanted people to feel the energy,” she says of the clip directed by Hunter Moreno, noting that growing up she watched a lot of Britney Spears videos, which clearly inspired the “My Oh My” visual.

Max also dove into the story behind her January collab with DJ Kygo on the tropical house banger “Whatever,” which contains an interpolation of Shakira’s titanic 2001 hit “Whenever, Wherever.” After chasing a potential team-up with Kygo for years, Max says when the Norwegian producer sent over the “Whatever” track she freaked out, realizing it was a great match. Now, after working with such EDM superstars Kygo, David Guetta (“Let It Be Me”) and Tiesto (“The Motto”), Max says the other names on her bucket list include Bad Bunny and J. Balvin.

“I just love the culture so much,” she says. “I would love a Spanish feature.”

In addition to talking about her eternal love of Spears, Max also got into the way-back machine to remember how “Sweet But Psycho” took her around the world after the self-described “studio rat” spent the previous decade in the studio perfecting her craft. Recalling the track going No. 1 in Europe and being on her first trip overseas to promote the song, Max described riding around in a Sprinter van in Finland and freaking when she heard the song on the radio for the first time.

“I remember crying because I was like, ‘This isn’t real’,” she says, describing a touch of imposter syndrome at her long-awaited overnight success. “It wasn’t real.” Then again, the track did represent her pretty well, she says, because, to be honest, she cops to being both sweet and psycho. Max also describes jumping so high up in the air she almost hurt herself when she was tapped to record a song (“Choose Your Fighter”) for the Barbie soundtrack.

“I was freaking out, I mean who doesn’t love Barbie?… Of course I’m gonna do this!” she says of the track that took just two hours to record and got “no notes” from director Greta Gerwig and soundtrack boss Mark Ronson.

Most importantly, Max confirms that she’s in the studio working on the new album now, but says she can’t talk about it too much. “I’m excited, there’s so much more… This album definitely has a couple record that style, lyric-wise, melody-wise that I’ve never touched on,” she promises.

Watch the “My Oh My” video below and the interview above.

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