A two-time winner of the National Downbeat Magazine Student Music Awards, Ava Preston is a 14-year-old vocalist and composer from Cleveland, Ohio. Already a regular headliner at All About Jazz’s #1 Jazz Club in the country (Bop Stop at the Music Settlement), Ava has performed her original music throughout Ohio, New York, Maryland and several other states. Her mentors include pianist Theron Brown (who portrayed Herbie Hancock alongside Don Cheadle in “Miles Ahead”), trumpeter Dominick Farinacci (TED Speaker & former Global Ambassador to Jazz at Lincoln Center), and several other iconic artists in the area.

Ava's artistic influences and inspiration are best explained in her own words. She writes:

Creativity is the lifeblood of all of my music. It shapes my reality and fuels my performance and writing. The subtle things in life are what inspire me to create: everything from watching rain fall to drawing a scene seems to spark some sort of melody. I have found that it is harder to press your mind for an idea than it is to just sit back and let ideas flow naturally. I use my emotions, my dream journal, and various meditation sessions to come upon inspiration.

I find people inspiring most of all. By people, I am referring to artists of music and such. I find great joy in listening to the vocal “greats” including Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughn, Louis Armstrong and Nina Simone, to name a few. Their strong voices, not only in their singing, but in equality for all, truly made jazz into a movement as much as a genre. More modern artists such as Somi, Nora Jones, Esperanza Spalding, Diana Krall, Sarah Bareilles, Stevie Nicks, and Eva Cassidy foster my fondness of music and stimulate my creative expression.

Label me, I conform.
Accept me, I create.
— Ava Preston