Ava Toton is an up-and-coming singer, guitarist and songwriter from Northern California, Oakland. At just 12 years old, Ava is often referred to as a music prodigy. Her second EP “Charm School Dropout” is available on all streaming platforms.
All songs on Charm School Dropout were written by Ava and she co-wrote the lyrics. Her unique vocals shine through, and Ava becomes known in every song she sings for the way she masterfully plays her guitar. The album was produced, mixed and mastered by Jacob Light at ModernTone Studios in Lafayette, CA.
What makes Ava Toton and her discography so unique is the fact that Ava is unapologetic in all of her songs. It never occurs to the listener that the masterful art before them is by so young an artist. On what is already her second EP, Ava Toton has already become a huge inspiration to rockers everywhere, young and old. She wants to show the world that rock and roll is far from dead, and introduce this music to her generation.
The 12 year old Ava’s primary instruments are her guitar and her voice, but she can also play bass guitar, drums and keyboard and uses all of those skills when writing songs and recording demos.
We talked to Ava Toton about her career, inspirations, personal experiences, among other curiosities. Check it out!
Why did you want to play this genre (rock)?
My mom has always loved rock music, and she always plays it in the car, which I think probably influenced me to play rock. I started going to School of Rock when I was 6 years old and I was in their rookies program. Here you get exposed to all of the different music instruments so when you move up to Rock 101, you have selected an instrument and are assigned an instructor to work with weekly. I have always been working with shredder rock/metal guitarists and so they influenced my musical direction a lot. For my first year I was with a female guitarist, which was so cool and then when I turned 7 is when I started working with my current instructor, Rafael. He has influenced me so much and worked with me to be the musician and performer I am today. He and I have very similar music tastes.
What was your first composition?
I did a girls rock camp where I had to write a song with a bunch of other girls, and I wrote this song called “Dark Skulls”. It’s actually pretty good. I think it might show up on a future album.
What are your biggest musical influences?
Metallica, AC/DC, Megadeth, Bon Jovi (actually most of the 80s Hair Metal bands), Shinedown, Tom Morello, Eddie Van Halen.
Which women in the rock scene do you most admire?
Currently I’m a big fan of the Warning. Nita Strauss is a shredder. Orianthi, also a shredder. Joan Jett. Pat Benatar. Heart (Wilson sisters). I met the current guitarist from Vixen at a rock camp (Britt Lightning) so I listened to their music and thought it was cool.
Who or what inspires you to write songs?
Life. Every song I have released has a backstory to it. I tend to write emotionally driven, sometimes angry and dark songs but I’m a 13 year old girl. It comes with the territory.
What would be the feat of your dreams? With which band or musician?
Collaboration wise? I’d love to rock out with Metallica. Angus Young would be epic. Touring with the Warning would be amazing.
Have any of you ever suffered from stage fright? Any tips for beginners on how to beat that?
I don’t ever really get any stage fright. Before I’m on stage I usually am a bit nervous, but when I actually get on stage I’m always feeling great. The stage is my comfort zone for sure.
What was it like writing and having this experience of releasing Charm School Dropout?
We had a deadline of releasing the EP on February 22, 2022 so it was pretty difficult finishing writing and recording the songs in time. It was mostly stressful, but also really fun to be able to get back into the studio and record another EP!
Do you have plans to release new material soon?
Of course! I have this new song called Like A Girl which I’m really excited to go into the studio to record. I’m working on the “B side” song for it since I will release it as a single. Or maybe an EP – school just got out for summer so I’m already writing new material.