Ava Max Says She 'Felt Like a New Person' After Ditching Her Signature Lopsided 'Max Cut' Hair
Marilyn Hue Ava Max
Ava Max is entering the Diamonds & Dancefloors era with a new look and perspective.
After rising to fame with hit songs like "Sweet But Psycho" and "Kings & Queens" off her debut album, 2020's Heaven & Hell, the 28-year-old singer-songwriter endured a heart-wrenching breakup while creating her second studio album, which dropped on Friday.
"It was really hard for me to write this album because I had to be very vulnerable with my personal life, which I normally don't do," Max tells PEOPLE. "But I'm excited for fans to hear my side of the story."
The musician's life was full of blissful romance when she started working on the dance-pop record, which inspired positive electro-pop bangers like its title track. "Then, my heart broke, and the lyrics got really sad — but I still wanted to make dance music, so I thought I would combine the two," recalls Max.
Soon enough, she found herself making crying-in-the-club songs, such as her latest single, "One of Us" which she describes as "the hardest song I ever wrote and recorded in my whole life."
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"In the relationship I was in, one of us would die for love, and one of us would give it up," Max explains, quoting a lyric from its chorus. "It was really a point in my life where I was like, 'Wow, we're not on the same page at all, and I definitely love this person more than they love me,' and I had to cut it off."
Shortly before launching Diamonds & Dancefloors with its lead single "Maybe You're the Problem" last year, she made a classic post-breakup decision and dyed her hair a bold shade of fiery red — ditching the lopsided blonde "Max Cut" style that helped establish her as a recognizable pop figure upon her debut with "Sweet But Psycho."
More than just an emotional decision, however, the switch-up also represents the next stage of her artistry. "I didn't want to be known just because of my 'Max Cut.' I didn't feel like that defined me as a whole," she says. "It really kicked off my career and meant so much to me — it still does — but I wanted to change my hair color. Red hair just felt so confident, like a new era, and it made sense. I dyed my hair and felt like a new person."
Marilyn Hue Ava Max
Max doesn't plan to bring the "Max Cut" back anytime soon, except for a brief appearance in the new "One of Us" visualizer, in which she appears "in the grave" sporting the 'do.
Following the breakup and makeover, she was finalizing Diamonds & Dancefloors in the fall (after shifting its release from October 2022 to January 2023) when the album leaked online. At the time, Max addressed the situation in a TikTok video, letting fans know she was "extremely upset" after working "so hard" on the record.
"I honestly do not know how that happens," she says now of the leak. "It was upsetting, obviously, at the time. I was still making tweaks to the album, and that's why I pushed it back."
Nevertheless, Max persisted and breathed new life into Diamonds & Dancefloors with brand-new cover artwork, revealed last month, which sees her laying in a sparkly blue scene from the video for the closing track, "Dancing's Done."
"I am — just like my 'Max Cut' in the past with short and long hair — an indecisive human. I like to have multiple covers," she explains with a laugh. "I just love to give everybody as much as I can."
Marilyn Hue Ava Max
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Now that the album's out in the world, Max is looking forward to embarking on her first-ever headlining tour in the spring. Five years into the multi-platinum-selling artist's career, a tour of her own has been a long time in the making, and she's been studying Madonna's dance-heavy 2006 Confessions Tour to prepare.
"I'm definitely going to bring the party. Who knows, I might even bring a lot of fans on stage every night because I just want everyone to experience it with me," she teases. "I definitely will have crazy outfits, a lot of color and really empowering dances. I see it being very strong, but fun at the same time."
Until the tour arrives, Max is excited to see fans' reactions to the album: "I hope they feel like they can achieve anything they want and leave any relationship that doesn't serve them."
"And break up with your narcissistic boyfriend if you have one," she adds with a laugh. "I'm just kidding!"