In a world filled with far too many fakes and filters, there is Ava Rowland. A small-town girl with a big-time faith whose talent, look and voice conjures up memories of a young Carrie Underwood, The 22-year-old with the fresh sound and addicting spirit likes to say she was born to play music.
Ava’s current single, “He’s Like a Habit,” brings with it a playful energy and an undeniable spunk that will soon infuse the Country music industry with a youthful spirit not seen since the early days of Taylor Swift. The song with the infectious hook reminds us that, despite the weight of an ongoing pandemic, it’s still fun to be young and there is still fun to be had. Ava wants the world to feel that fun again.
Rowland's grandfather plays the guitar and her parents once served as worship leaders and everyone around her sings…. everyone. In fact, as a little girl, Ava would sing so much that her mom often found herself politely asking her talented daughter to stop, for even just a moment, so they could sit down at the table and at least enjoy a dinner together in peace. The first time Ava sang in front of an audience was in front of a packed congregation at her church in her hometown of Wellington, Ohio. The girl with the bright smile and the flowery dress eagerly climbed the steps up to the church altar to sing the powerful hymn “We Fall Down.” And from that moment on, she knew she wanted to sing for people, forevermore. But first, she needed to finish the fourth grade.
So, she spent her days studying and her afternoons watching future pop princesses such as Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus sing their way to stardom on the Disney Channel. She tirelessly worked to create a chapter of the Rachel’s Challenge organization at her high school in honor of a girl named Rachel Scott who was killed in the Columbine massacre while holding up her personal shield of faith. From sunrise to sunset, Ava’s dreams continued to be filled with a future in which she could someday find herself in the spotlight.And that day is now.
But before you write off the Ohio native as just another adorable girl from a small town with big Country music dreams, one must know this. There are more sides to Ava that one might see in the flirty video for, “He’s Like a Habit” or on her growing social media channels. For example, there was a time when Ava seriously juggled with the decision between pursuing a Christian music career or a Country music career. Yes, she picked the latter.
“I feel like when you have been given a voice by God, it drives you to make music that changes people.”
In case you haven’t picked up on it already, faith has served as the backbone of Ava’s entire life. She reads her bible weekly and relies on His word as she tackles the challenges that life throws. Inspired by the faithful souls of Country music greats such as Dolly Parton, Lauren Alaina and Gabby Barrett, Ava leans on her faith when she finds herself questioning His timing, as she did in 2020 when the ongoing pandemic put her blossoming career on hold for far longer than she liked.
“There have been times when I feel like I’m getting nowhere, but you have to remember that His timing is always better than our timing. That is what I have been taught since I was just a little girl. And when you think about that, it’s crazy, isn’t it? God is just soooo cool.”
So are Ava’s tattoos, all five of them. Her great grandmother’s frequent saying ‘pretty is as pretty does’ is written in her grandmother’s handwriting on her arm. She has a semicolon tattoo as a message of affirmation and solidarity against suicide and depression for her sister and the words ‘King Jesus’ remind her of her biggest and perhaps most important priority. And then, on her foot is one pink rose and on her shoulder is a string of music notes. “The funny thing about the music notes is that my ex-boyfriend bought it for me,” Ava sweetly growls in a tone reminiscent of a young Miranda Lambert. “I ended up getting a few songs from him and a tattoo. Not a bad deal if you ask me.”
Indeed, the juxtaposition that lies within Ava Rowland, from her sweet side to her sassy side to her spiritual side, not only makes her one of the most intriguing young artists in Country music today, but also makes her relatable to anyone who has ever had some big dreams and started working to make them come true. From performing at Nashville’s legendary Bluebird Café and Puckett’s to taking the stage at CMA Fest in 2019 along with festivals all across the Midwest, Ava has proven that her live show is as endearing as her personality. Through the years, she has opened for the likes of Montgomery Gentry, John Michael Montgomery and Neal McCoy. And this is just the beginning.
“There is this place in Nashville that you can drive up to, even though you are not supposed to because the police are always watching. (Laughs.) It’s this really high hill where you can stop and see all of Nashville. And it’s up there that I know, I’m going to make it. I’m going to make my dreams come true down there. And I have someone up here helping me every step of the way.”