Ava Max on Bringing Us Heaven in a Year of Hell…

Friday marked the beginning of a well-deserved celebration for Ava Max.

After two years of building her musical resumé with a series of hits, the pop riser finally released her debut album, Heaven & Hell — fittingly enough, during one of the most hellish times in human history. And since a pandemic-stricken year isn’t necessarily the ideal time for an album release party, Max instead marked the moment just as one might expect: in the realest way possible.

“I’m probably going to scream at the top of my lungs,” she told SPIN on Thursday afternoon, just hours before the big day. “Then I’ll eat a lot of cake and probably spit it out because I’m screaming again.”

Jokes aside, Max opted to have friends and family close by for the occasion — something she’s been waiting for since she was 9 when she started to sing after idolizing her pop-superstar heroes like Mariah Carey and Britney Spears. That dream has since pushed her toward some of the flashiest and purest pop songs of the last couple years — including “Sweet But Psycho” and “Kings & Queens,” both of which broke Max into Billboard’s Hot 100 for the first time in her career, the former charting at No. 10 in 2018.

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