Ava Paige was voted Best Singer-Songwriter by readers’ poll in Nashville Scene’s 31st Annual Best of Nashville issue earlier this month with Jason Isbell as runner up, and Matt Ramsey in third place. This came as quite a surprise and shock but was also perfect timing as the brave young songstress has been battling cancer and related health issues since her July 1st diagnosis.
During the summer, and ironically, while Paige was on the road entertaining kids at a children’s hospital in Ft. Worth, Texas, she became ill. She had been fatigued and under the weather in the weeks leading up to the visit but blamed it on her hectic schedule. As her condition worsened, Paige saw her doctor who upon testing immediately diagnosed her with leukemia, a cancer of the blood. The “good news,” however, was that they confirmed it was Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), known to progress rapidly if not treated immediately and aggressively, but most children with ALL are cured following treatment. Paige had so many exciting plans in the works for her music career but, unfortunately, most had to be put on hold so that she could focus on her health. After 30 days of inpatient chemo, she was blessed with more good news confirming she was in remission although the road to recovery was far from over. Thankfully, Paige is back home but remains on an eight-month chemo infusion program where she has weekly hospital visits for an infusion and does the rest of the treatments at home. Once this phase is completed, she will then begin a maintenance program.
Ava Paige was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, making her a unicorn! She is often described as an “old soul in a young body” as her authentic vocals and guitar articulate the intimate sounds of wisdom, love, loss, and loneliness of someone far beyond her age. Paige grew on up Country music performing and accompanying herself since she was 12 years of age. She has had a weekly gig at at George Jones Museum and plays out regularly at some of Nashville’s most prestigious venues. Paige paid extra attention to the writers of those songs she loved. Some of those that she credits as her favorites are Liz Rose ("You Belong With Me,” "Teardrops on My Guitar,” "Girl Crush,” "Cry Pretty”), Lori McKenna ("Humble and Kind," "Cry Pretty," "Girl Crush”), and Natalie Hemby (“Good Thing," “’Automatic,” “Pontoon”), Dustin Christensen (“Love Me or Leave Me Alone,” "You Could Have Loved Me,” "Parked Out by the Lake”), Chris DeStefano (“Something in the Water, “"Good Girl,” “Don’t Ya,”). When asked about some of the artists who inluenced her the most, she credits Travis Meadows, Brandy Clark, Chris Stapleton, and Ashley McBryde. Paige is wise beyond her years and aside from her exceptional talent, she is very smart and hard-working. Paige is still in school and takes her studies very seriously. She also performs out regularly (now, health-permitting), writes regularly (alone and with her growing group of co-writers) and is quite business savvy with a keen knowledge of the music industry and the steps needed to succeed. Even with this roadblock, she still remains focused, determined and driven and could even be seen in the hospital bed with her guitar writing songs and entertaining a guest list seeming like a “who’s who” in Country music (Cheley Tackett, Ashley McBryde, Michael Ray, Carly Pearce, Brady Clark just to name a few) where music remained the heart of everything. Paige is also a regular on the weekly Music Row Freakshow held at The Local Nashville every Wednesday.
Paige’s current single, “Hope Comes In,” which is highly inspirational and something everyone will be able to relate to was released earlier this month and is very near and dear to her heart. Listen here. She co-wrote the song with Jeffrey East ("Roller Rink," "The Truth Is," "Bill and Ole Elijah")and Bobby Simpson (“Proving Me Wrong,” “Everything But Goodbye”) and really captures who she is as an artist. Although the song was written nearly a year ago at a GSC (Global Songwriters Connection) retreat, it was almost prophetic as she has now “lived” the lyrics that she could not have otherwise imagined noting the line “life can change when you least expect it to” which perfectly describes her recent diagnosis and the detour in her musical journey. She was very instrumental in the entire production of the song and even created the cover art for the single.
Even during the roughest of times, the blessings and outpouring of love for this extraordinary young lady remained abundant with prayers, calls, visitors, texts, cards, gifts (which required a U-Haul truck upon hospital dismissal) and multiple benefit shows that were hosted to benefit her Go Fund Me account to cover medical, illness and healing expenses. The fund continues to grow and reflect the community’s ongoing support and generosity, which will be a tremendous aid in the recovery process, which is expected to last for two to three years.
With Ava Paige’s unique talent, gift with words and undeniable determination, strength, and musicianship, it is no doubt she will overcome the obstacles that have been placed before her and that she and her music will continue to thrive.
Paige will perform TONIGHT to a sold out crowd at the legendary Bluebird Café tonight along with Bill DiLuigi, Morgan Myles, Pete Sallis, and Jamey Perrenot. The show begins at 6 p.m. There will be around 10-12 church pew seats that are first come, first served when doors open. There’s always a possibility of more seats becoming available at the door due to no shows or last-minute cancellations.
To learn more about Ava Paige, her music, upcoming tour dates or her fund, visit her website.