featured Featured Artist Of The Month

Featured Artist of The Month: @MsavaBella | February 2017

Friday, February 10, 2017Ava Bella

I've waited for so long to do this... 

When family and friends suggested I write this blog nearly 5 years ago; I was scared. I really wasn't confident enough to talk about myself. Sure I was meeting a lot of the artists I was featuring, I was hosting and promoting events with Black Vine, but I was still scared. Not to say that I am less scared, but I do want to update those of you who have stuck with me!

So I am about to do something that has caused an internal debate for the last 9 days. 

As I sit here in mid-city Los Angeles, California, where the blog began, I, Melissa 'AvaBella' Ramsey am your February featured artist. Nice to meet you all...all over again 😊.

Me after attending the MakeUp In Conference LA on Tuesday.
Follow my SnapChat so you don't miss a thing - it's lit!

Where I'm From | I'm from Kansas City, Missouri. I was born and raised there. I've spent time all over, though. I lived in New Orleans, Louisiana, Fort Riley, Kansas, and Los Angeles, California. I have also lived and worked along the East Coast. That job was probably the worst job I have ever held.

What Jobs Have I Had? | From the age of 14, I worked in retail. When I turned 17, I got my first leadership position and stayed in that career for what seemed like forever until I realized that even though I was awesome at it, that wasn't what I put on the planet to do. My last jobs before fully committing to music was a branch manager at HR Block and a part-time barista at Starbucks.

When Did I Start Singing? | If you ask my father, he will tell you that I came into the world singing. He says it is the way my cry sounded that sounded like I was.  I remember singing when I was 2. I used to spread out Ebony, Jet, and Essence magazines on the floor, stand on my parent's glass coffee table in the living room, and sing into the big heavy duty Duracell flashlight. I'll never forget the trouble I got in for standing on the glass coffee table. I fell through twice, got in trouble both times; that still didn't stop me. My mother and father were livid. I remember telling them that I wanted to sing to the people. The people on the covers of the magazines like on the award shows on television. I sang on the table a few more times until my parents just got rid of it. Somewhere around middle school, I discovered the natural reverb sound of the garage. Once that happened, I sang in the garage all the time - which drove the entire family crazy.

Me in Hollywood, California yesterday. Photo Credit: Dhante'

What Was It That Made Me Commit To Music? | Hard times. No honestly, it was my healing during the hard times. I got married. I had two beautiful sons. I went through 3 1/2 years of domestic violence and I got divorced. After leaving I had two toddlers I was responsible for. I got laid off from an Area Sales Management job days after my divorce was final and I eventually had to move into a shelter. From the shelter, I moved to Kansas City's worst public housing (projects) and that is where I drew the line. I refused to have my sons around the elements that were in and around us at the time. I decided to begin working on music. I released my first studio project while residing in the projects. I had my first gigs, promo shows, all while still living in the projects. I toured, all living in the projects. I did this until there was a rash of violence, including gun violence and burglaries in our building. Then I sold everything and moved to LA.

Why Did I Start Assilem Media Group, LLC? | Early on in my blogging journey, I wrote a lot about the do's and don'ts of being an indie artist and that attracted a lot of emails from both indie artists and businesses. The artists and the businesses wanted me to help them. The businesses wanted to reach artists and the artists wanted to get more focused in their approach to the music industry. Since starting my business in 2011, I have not only had fellow artists as clients but a variety of entrepreneurs and small business owners. The mission of Assilem Media is to arm people with the tools they need to compete in their chosen industry. I just want people to understand that this isn't rocket science, but you do have to be focused on the business.

<a href="http://avabella.bandcamp.com/album/warrior-love-letter">Warrior Love Letter by AvaBella</a>

Who Is Warrior Love Letter For? | Warrior Love Letter was written for my sons during the height of the African-American murders at the hands of police. I just really needed to speak to the royal spirit that lives in all African American men. I needed them to know how to guard their hearts, minds, and spirits in this time that we live in. The thing is that I am very direct with my sons because I want them to understand their value and their importance. I always have.

What Have Been Your Favorite Collaborations Musically So Far? | My first project was for my own healing. The producers I worked with helped me tell that story. I worked with Deuce, a producer, and MC, on Butterfly and Millionaire on the LadyGun EP. I've worked on numerous songs with James D. Conqueror. Producer wise, Deuce is dope. He knows my story, we grew up together. Our lockers were always next to each other. That's the homie! With James, I respect his art overall and I've learned so much from working with him, being signed to his label, and partnering professionally over the last 5 years. I am also blessed to call him a friend. There aren't a lot of those in this business, so yeah, I'm blessed. Most recently, we worked on a few songs for his Nouveau Noir project series, and Paris Of The Plains is my favorite!

<a href="http://jamesdconqueror.bandcamp.com/album/nouveau-noir-opus-i">Nouveau Noir Opus I by James D. Conqueror Ft. The Swing</a>

What Was It Like Being In Dreamgirls? | The experience I had with the Black Repertory Theater of Kansas City was awesome. Not because I was the star of the show (I wasn't), but because it got me back into the groove of performing every night. It was the choreography, the coordination, the lights, the acting, the singing, and doing it all at the same time. I want to do more theater and more acting. I feel like acting is another great way to flex your creative muscles. 

What's Next? | More music. 

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