She may be only a few years into her music career after releasing her debut album during the pandemic, but Ava Max is only getting started. Over the last few years, she has managed to gain an immense following thanks to her unapologetic dedication to uplifting women and calling out sexism in her songs.
"I think it's super important [to speak about] because I've dealt with that my whole life," the 29-year-old tells Refinery29 Australia. "It's been in dating, in my career and in business. There's the belittling and it's not fair to women."
In 2020, the American singer became an instant music sensation with her song, 'Sweet but Psycho', in which she highlighted double standards for men and women when they speak up. While men are seen as assertive, powerful and logical if they voice their opinion, women are often perceived as crazy or a troublemaker if they pipe up.
"Guys called me psycho in every single relationship," says Max of her own experiences, using an example of going on four dates with a guy before he called her "crazy".
"I'm just like, 'Why am I why am I crazy for expressing how I feel when I'm trying just to make the relationship better?'"
I had to tour and perform while I was crying on stage, and no one knew. It was like the worst time of my life, but also the best because it was therapeutic.
In a world where social media and dating apps have changed the way relationships tend to evolve, Max believes that men have different expectations.
"I've noticed, especially in this day and age of social media, they always think the grass is greener on the other side," says the singer.
"They think they're going to find a girl who's going to say yes to them, and let them do whatever they want. It's never OK for a guy to disrespect a girl."
While 'Sweet but Psycho' was a hit on her debut album Heaven & Hell, Max has dug far deeper into her personal life for her second album, Diamonds & Dancefloors, which was released just a few weeks ago.
It's about her heartbreak and personal relationships, and she says she feels much more exposed and vulnerable in putting these tracks out.
"While writing this album, I was going through so many trials and tribulations in my relationship," she explains.
"It was funny, because in Heaven & Hell, I said I would never write about my personal relationships with guys. And of course, here we are in 2023 where Diamonds & Dancefloors is all about my personal relationship with guys."
Chanelling her pain into lyrics wasn't easy, as she juggled touring, songwriting and dealing with heartbreak all at once.
"I've never experienced heartbreak like that before," she revealed. "So, I had to experience heartbreak for the first time and was writing about it.
"I had to tour and perform while I was crying on stage, and no one knew. It was like the worst time of my life, but also the best because it was therapeutic."
After wrapping up a visit to Australia to perform at Sydney WorldPride, Max is now preparing for a headline tour across the US next month. One thing she promises no matter what though is to always shine a spotlight on respecting women.
"[Disrespect] is not fair to women and I will continue to talk about female empowerment."