INTERVIEW: Ava Della Pietra on her new single, plans to come and the school-music balance

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INTERVIEW: Ava Della Pietra on her new single, plans to come and the school-music balance


Editor’s Note: In a sea of powerful female acts, we’re always on the lookout for what we think could be the next big thing. Our latest find has a long background in performing, be it on a shimmery pop track or a youth ensconced in Broadway. Long Island native Ava Della Pietra got her roots in performing in the original “School of Rock,” cast on Broadway, and has only developed her own personal sound even more as she now finds herself tacking an Ivy League education on top of that. Pietra just finished her first year at Harvard University while also attending Berklee School of Music, conveniently located in the same city.

And that turn to university definitely also created a pivot in the music Della Pietra was releasing. The turning point, according to Della Pietra, was the dancy “Ego,” and if it’s foreshadowing what’s to come from this act in the next few months, it’s sure to be a wild ride for Della Pietra. Boston will have a chance to see her live in just a few weeks when she joins Madilyn Mei at The Sinclair on 7/30 (limited tickets can still be scooped here), and with a handful of dates surrounding that show, it surely won’t be long until Della Pietra garners that mainstream attention. Find my chat below with Della Pietra, and catch the video for her latest single, “Rearview Mirror.”

New England Sounds: This may be a soft one to start with. I’m sure you’ve already finished your first year of college or are finishing out that first year in Boston.

Ava Della Pietra: I just finished my first year. 

NES: How does that feel? 

ADP: Feels so weird. 

NES: Yeah, is that weird to say? 

ADP: I was like, wow, but no, it feels really great. I mean, I’ve been looking forward to college for a while (laughs). It’s kind of been everything leading up to this point. And yeah, no, it’s going really well. I’m at both Harvard and Berklee College of Music, so it’s like a co-studies program. So, it’s been a really unique experience, where I get to study probably biology or something of that nature at Harvard. And I’m studying either songwriting or music production at Berklee. 

NES: I was going to ask how that balance has been. I know the schools are relatively close to each other, but they’re both challenging schools in different rights. How has that experience been, getting used to Boston and figuring out the balance while also producing your own music? 

ADP: So yeah, Berklee is pretty close to Harvard, which is nice. But I’m a full-time Harvard student, and I’m only a part-time Berklee student. But I just go once or maybe twice a week, so I’ve been kind of treating it like an extra-curricular. And it’s been really great because I’ve been able to see music from a more academic perspective, which I haven’t done really up until this point. But yeah, it’s been helpful, and it’s been in my favor: music production, which I haven’t really done before. I took a music production class, and that’s definitely been helpful in navigating different production terms so that I can better communicate with the producers I work with. 

NES: Then you’ve obviously been playing music for so long. You play multiple instruments, and from what I’ve read, you’ve written over a hundred songs on your own before you went to college. Is there still something really new that you’ve learned at Berklee or something you’ve added to the writing process? I know you talked about some of the new terms that you’ve learned and studied during your time at Berklee. So many big names have come out of that school, who I’m sure have left behind some of the things they learned but also kept some of the things. Maybe something new that you’ve kept or added to your writing process? 

ADP: Well, I guess one thing: this doesn’t exactly apply to the writing process, but it’s something really cool that happened after I started school, is that Finneas came to be interviewed and give a talk. 

NES: Oh, that’s awesome. 

ADP: Yeah, it was so cool. And I’m really a huge fan of his (laughs)—especially just his production style, like everything he does with Billie. So, I think that was probably the most impactable thing that I’ve experienced at Berklee. Which I guess wasn’t about the core classes but seeing him speak. I didn’t realize how huge of a fan I was of him until he was in the room, and I was almost crying in happiness. So yeah, he’s super inspiring, so that was probably the thing that sat with me the most this year. He talked about just his passion for music and a little bit about his process, how he likes to take a lot of outside sounds from random everyday life. So yeah, super inspiring. 

NES: Then, speaking to your own music, I know you’ve been releasing singles really steadily. But I think it’s safe to say that, starting with “Ego,” it’s definitely been a bit of a transition. Maybe the latest single with “Rearview Mirror,” maybe a little bit of the story behind that track, only dropping last week? 

ADP: Yeah, no, you’re totally right. I’m also viewing “Ego” as kind of this transition from my earlier stuff before that, which I would call a little bit more indie pop and slower music. But I’ve definitely been getting a lot more into the upbeat, almost like pop-rock styles. And I think that’s most evident in “Rearview Mirror,” which I just released. 

So yeah, “Rearview Mirror” was inspired by this car ride that I took with my guy friend and his girlfriend, who was in the front seat. And he kind of kept on looking back at me, and throughout the past couple of weeks, he had been kind of giving me these mixed signals. And I guess when I was in the car with him, he kept on looking at me instead of his girlfriend. And I came up with this idea for “Rearview Mirror,” which is just about all the mixed signals and confusing moments in these kinds of young relationships. And how it can really be difficult to navigate that, especially since I also kind of had a little crush on him. So it was very difficult because I’m also friends with his girlfriend, and obviously, I would never want to intervene. So, it’s just a very complicated situation. That’s what “Rearview Mirror” is about. 

NES: I know you’ve played some Sofar shows in Boston, but I saw that you are playing The Sinclair in Cambridge as one of the opening artists. Is that correct? Will that be your first billed show in Boston? 

ADP: I performed at a Sofar event in Boston, but besides that, it was a month ago or something. Besides that, it will be my first big show in Boston. And I’m opening for someone named Madilyn Mei. She’s a very cool artist, and her style is unique, in my opinion. So I’m really excited to open for her. 

NES: Then you’ve had the Sofar show, you have a small tour posted on your website, and you’ve done a lot with Sofar. But when it comes to curating this set, I know it is an opening spot, but you’ll still probably have six or seven songs. How have you been planning for these live shows? I know you probably don’t want to share much, but will it be just you on stage, or maybe someone playing with you? How have you been planning these sets that you’ll be performing? 

ADP: So yeah, the ones that I’m opening are actually just going to be me and one other person who’s kind of accompanying me on guitar. So it’s going to be very stripped back, which I’m excited for. I’ve done a lot of performances recently that have been with a full-blown band. It is also extremely fun, but it’s also nice to have a stripped-down one once in a while. So yeah, it’s just going to be me with a guitarist. And I’m going to be performing all original songs.

NES: Great! And then I wanted to ask, I know in the past just from researching, you’ve worked with people that have worked with like Dua Lipa, you’ve obviously had Broadway experience. And you’ve been involved with music for a really long time. And a lot of female acts are dominating right now. Maybe artists that you generally look up to. I know we talked about Finneas earlier, and Billie Eilish, but considering how female acts are dominating recently. Maybe some that you’ve enjoyed a lot recently? 

ADP: Yeah, absolutely. I’ve been a big fan of Sabrina Carpenter her whole career, but I feel like this summer, everyone’s saying it’s the “Summer of Sabrina,” I don’t know if you’ve heard that. But, yeah, everybody’s kind of obsessed with her now,  but I’ve been a really big fan of her for a long time. And, of course, people like Chappell Roan, who I think opened for Olivia Rodrigo on her tour. 

NES: Yep!

ADP: I also think she’s amazing. Who else do I like? I really like Noah Cyrus, and then (laughs), I just realized, too, Miley Cyrus. And then I guess the last person would be Tate McRae. I really like her. 

NES: I think that’s a good little roster that you have there. 

ADP: (laughs) Same. 

NES: Then, like you said, you started out so young. Considering you started so young in music, advice to kids that want to get started or are trying to get started in music? 

ADP: Yeah, um, I guess the biggest thing that I kind of discovered is that a lot of advice I’d give in music is just going for it. Some of my friends in the past have asked how you have the confidence or whatever to release songs. And I think what they were implying by that is that something about me is that I really like to be a perfectionist with a lot of things. And I think early on, that kind of held me back in terms of releasing music earlier. I still released songs at a relatively young age, but I had so many other songs that I had recorded prior to that that I just didn’t release because I felt like they weren’t totally perfect or whatever. And I think something that I realized is the little imperfections within music and appreciating the process of it. So yeah, appreciating the process and accepting the imperfections ends up making music sound so much cooler. So it’s just so important to be confident in your work, even if it’s not perfect. 

NES: Then I’m sure you’re going to take a bit of a breather this summer, or maybe not, after you’ve finished your first year of school. I know you have that brief tour in the summer, but maybe hopes or goals for you in these next few months, if you’re able to share? 

ADP: Yeah! So, I actually just got back from LA, and I recorded a new song. And I also re-recorded the vocals for another song I’m hoping to release. So that was really great, and hopefully, I’ll be releasing that somewhat soon. And then I’m also looking to release a song, probably in the fall. The details are kind of under wraps. But besides the tour, I think I’ll just continue to write music. I’m going to be a camp counselor this summer.


About Author


Colleen has been writing about music since 2009. Interviewing bands since the glory days of Warped and has continued to do so for now over fourteen years. As well as doing freelance for other publications, the love for everything rock continues today.