Phoenix resident Ava Terry was 9 years old when she won her first singing competition. Now, the 18-year-old is making a name for herself as budding pop country artist across the state.
Terry, a Liberty High School graduate, has released her third and latest original single, “Time Machine,” featuring an “’80s throwback vibe.” The song is available on all streaming platforms, including Spotify and Apple Music.
Terry has spent a majority of her blossoming career performing for local charities and professional sporting events throughout the greater Phoenix area. With songwriting under her belt, Terry said she strives to create “fresh” music that “translates to many audiences.”
“I have always been drawn to the ’80s,” she said.
“‘Time Machine’ is a product of me wishing I could go back in time when things seemed lighter and brighter and there was no social media and cellphones.”
A “Nash” version of “Time Machine” is also in the works, Terry continued, boasting a “little more country flare.”
During her time in COVID-19 quarantine, Terry said she maximized her downtime to focus on making music and learning how to write original pieces.
“I had to make the choice to either put my music on hold and just record cover songs or move forward somehow,” she said. “I decided to take advantage of the time away from school and do something productive.”
Using Zoom, Terry collaborated with Nashville songwriter and producer Kipp Williams, of Dr. Luke’s Prescription Songs, to write five songs — all of which are inspired by her life.
Terry said she wants her music to be “relatable to all ages.”
“I hope my songs make people feel good while touching their heart in some way,” Terry said. “I like to write from the perspective of seeing the good in things in life instead of just the bad parts.”
Growing up in Phoenix, Terry said she embraced her passion for singing at 8 years old.
She recalled idolizing the talents of Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston from very early on.
“I have always loved music,” Terry said. “Michael Jackson was my idol when I was 5 years old. I must have watched the movie ‘Selena’ about 100 times as a kid.”
A year later, Terry won the Great American Talent Search in Peoria, marking the beginning of her singing career at 9.
The pop country artist, who was encouraged by her voice coach Lise Hopson of Redhead Studios to enter, won the junior division of the competition.
“There were three rounds of eliminations, which were a few weeks apart,” Terry said. “I just remember feeling like it was a big deal just like the TV show.”
The local talent has since gone on to perform the “Star-Spangled Banner” at numerous sporting events, including a 50,000-person crowd at an Arizona Diamondbacks game, as well as volunteer-sing for a plethora of charity and church events.
Singing provides a “purpose” in Terry’s life, she shared, while also making her feel “safe.”
“I want to inspire people and take them on an emotional journey with my voice,” she said. “It sounds weird, but I love to bring tears to people’s eyes, in a good way. I think God gave me a gift and I should take on the challenge and do something with what He has given me.”
Terry’s ultimate inspiration as an artist is country singer and songwriter Carrie Underwood, she continued.
She said Underwood’s lifestyle and morals continue to motivate her to be the “best version” of herself.
“I am so moved by how she seems to connect her whole life with her life on the stage,” Terry stated. “It’s so genuine and cohesive. Her strong faith shows through in her music, which I admire. She is brave and unafraid to be herself.”
Another element of Terry’s musical journey is her desire to give back to the community.
The 18-year-old frequently volunteers at the Community of Grace church in Peoria in both its services and community music productions, she explained.
Terry also offers her vocals to charity organizations like the United Way, the Kiwanis Foundation and even the Peoria Police Department.
“Since I can remember, my family has raised money every year for the Pacific Northwest Kiwanis Foundation and their annual walkathon to feed less-fortunate families at the holidays,” she shared.
This fall, Terry plans to expand her musical palette at Belmont’s College of Music and Performing Arts in Nashville, Tennessee.
Terry will attend the school’s Commercial Music Program, which is by audition only, and minor in music business, she said.
“I am super honored and very excited,” Terry said.
“Time Machine’s” music video premiered on YouTube at 9 p.m. Monday, July 14.
“Time Machine,” and Terry’s other singles, are available on Spotify or Apple Music. For more information, visit her website, avaterrymusic.com.