Singer-songwriter Avion Blackstone is an artist unlike many. The Austin-based indie music artist shines like a star, and her songs are refreshing and deep with meaning. Her fans call themselves the Aviants and she makes an effort to engage with fans.
She’s been releasing singles since 2014 and her latest single “Dancing With Superman” dropped back in March. Learn more about Avion and what she’s been up to!
Interview questions by ChinLin Pan
How did you get started making music? Did you take music lessons growing up?
Avion Blackstone: I consider myself afflicted with classical training. That’s only partially a joke. My parents saw that I was naturally inclined to play music by ear and compose when I was about three years old. They saw to it that I received the best musical education they could afford. It taught me a lot about music theory and introduced me to Mozart and Bach.
What challenges have you come across?
Avion: I think the biggest challenge that I face constantly is how intricately wrapped up with sex and sexuality pop music is supposed to be. I’m not a sexual person and often I’m completely oblivious to the fact that what I perceive to be a beautiful artistic photo is going to be taken as slutty or inappropriate.
Which music artists inspire you and your work?
Avion: There are so many! Let’s start with Mozart and his obsession with complexity. Then I’ve been greatly inspired by people like Michael Jackson, Prince, and Lady Gaga. I also have to give a nod to poets like Robert Frost, Edgar Allan Poe, and whoever actually wrote the work spend under the name “William Shakespeare.”
Your most recent single “Dancing for Superman” dropped back in March this year. What was the inspiration for that song? (Quick note: I love the cover art.)
Avion: Thank you! I’m glad to hear you say you like it because I’ve always felt a little insecure about that art. I’m not a graphic artist and that was the first one that I did on my own. Of course having a fantastic photographer to get the shot made my job a lot easier. The song itself is inspired by struggles with eating disorders and mental illness that I have gone through in my life. The concept is that when you’re going through what amounts to an addiction, which I consider eating disorders to be, it’s hard to explain to outsiders the intensity of that connection. It almost becomes a codependent relationship with a non-entity. The hard part of getting better is not so much learning how to eat healthy or how to take care of your own brain but how to leave behind the dependence on the disorder as a coping mechanism.
You’re so engaging with your Twitter followers. Not something you see often. How do you keep up with everyone?
Avion: My fans keep me grounded. I genuinely need them. They keep my eyes focused on the goal. If I need inspiration, all I have to do is reach out to someone on Twitter who is complimenting my music and begging for more. The work that I’m here to do, the love that I’m here to communicate, is very important to other people.
Your fans call themselves “Aviants.” How does that feel?
Avion: I can’t even describe how amazing it is to wake up every morning and think “oh my God! I have a fandom!” But a big reality check is that I have to give them complete credit for creating the community. They named themselves, they stated their core values, and they have self-identified as being my supporters. I know that Lady Gaga call her fans Little Monsters and ICP has the Juggalos. I did not deliberately set out to have a fandom with a unique name. That was a gift that my fans decided to give to me on their own.
Do you have any advice for aspiring music artists?
Avion: Your authenticity is going to be what’s most important in any situation. The bottom line is you can only pretend to be someone you’re not for so long. So always make every statement with that in mind. Don’t pretend have more money than you do. Don’t pretend to be more talented than you are. Don’t pretend to be more sure of yourself than you are. Just approach people honestly, and openly, and 99 times out of 100, they will reach back with love and acceptance. And that’s what you need to get your dreams off the ground.
What are you working on next?
Avion: People search primarily for singles and I want to keep releasing singles. I have several right now that are finished and my team and I are working on some marketing ideas for each one of them. I really like to get the fans involved with each new song. For example, with “Backstage Hero,” we did a fan art contest and the winner got a gift card and everyone who participated got to have their fanart included in the music video. I’ve got something up my sleeve for the next single so definitely check out my Twitter and Facebook to see when it’s announced!
You can follow Avion Blackstone on Facebook, Soundcloud, YouTube, and Twitter @avionblackstone. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat @shuffleonline for more coverage on rising music artists!