NationNews / Related articles Common celebrates Dr King’s birthday… Dawn-Mari stepping into her own… WATER WOES: Still no water but… “I consider myself to be very multifaceted . . . . I think I would do myself a disservice to choose. Practically speaking, I think it would be difficult to do both full-time but it’s all about the way it’s done,” she said.
The 25-year-old said that at this point in her life, she is enjoying success in the two things she loves the most and she couldn’t be happier.
Where law is concerned, Ava said told EASY that on the day she was called to the Bar she was petrified at first about the path that she was now walking steadfastly.
“The reality sank in that I had now gotten a job at a general practice firm. I had actually been interested in commercial type law. The environment and job I found right out of school was not my ideal. I had to go through a process of understanding that in life there’s no straight journey for what you might want your outcome to be.
“I was like holding back tears. It was like this is the moment I’ve been waiting for. I’m no longer a student . . . and people’s lives and problems are going to cross my desk and be in my hands. I think it was realising the magnitude of what I was committing myself too,” she explained.
But once she accepted the challenge, she was ready for all the world of law had to offer. After getting over her initial fears, she is now making strides in her career and thoroughly enjoying her day-to-day activities.
“So far I can definitely say I’ve learnt so much in a short space of time. I’m still practising general law. I do lots of civil litigation, I do employment law, family law, some contract law, and it is not what I set out to do – it’s not something I thought I would even be doing . . . . I found that I used to fear litigation . . . . My first day I was thrown into the deep. I had to go to the police station to speak to someone who was in custody.
“[But] I wouldn’t say that I regret any of the choices that I’ve made,” Ava added.
Sitting in the offices of the law firm where she works, she said that the journey from law school was by no means easy, but nevertheless she persisted because of the burning desire within her to do it.
“There were many times when I questioned if this was the field for me. But I stuck with it and here I am. What interests me about law is that it touches every aspect of human life. No two days are the same. There’s always something new to learn and I think I have the inclination to be inquisitive . . . just to learn more and I feel like law was a field that gave me that type of exposure.
“The enjoyable thing about general practice and litigation is that you are put in a position where you interact with all types of people. Not only does it ground you in terms of professional development but it also makes you more relatable to people. It teaches you about life in the process. That’s a very incredible and exciting thing. Not many people can say that their job teaches them life lessons. And I can say that’s been my experience so far,” Ava noted.
As she talks about her next love, singing, Ava’s face cannot help but light up.
She said from the time she was a babe in the womb, she loved music and at one point, it was all she wanted to do.
“My parents would always tell me stories of when they would go to calypso tents back in the day when mum was pregnant with me and once the music starts I would be there kicking. I do believe it’s such a huge part of my purpose. I grew up singing in church for most of my life up until a certain point. I would sing at school events, weddings, a few funerals,” she explained.
But her musical journey to where she is today was anything but easy, much like her law journey.
She faced indecisiveness, insecurities, and challenges transitioning to secular music since she grew up in a Christian household.
But Ava’s backbone is strong and she has tremendous support from her family and friends. She didn’t quit and is today regarded as having one of the sweetest voices on the island.
“I experienced some challenges in my life around 21 to 23 where I completed disconnected with that part of me. It came down to me having insecurities and me wondering if this thing was enough for me to put it out there. At the time I could not appreciate what was happening.
“Also, when I was a teenager, I was fascinated with the idea of becoming an artiste so bad. My dad, at that time, definitely preferred if I didn’t sing secular music. He would have preferred me to sing gospel songs. But as much as that was his position, he was never restrictive or harsh about it,” she explained.
Those challenges, she said, have only made her hungrier and more determined to pursue her dreams. Ava told EASY it was a part of her she knew she could not ignore.
“After disconnecting from music and singing for three consecutive years, I realised that as much as I had achieved academically and professionally, the thing that I was burying was very much a part of me that I could not ignore. Ignoring it made me feel empty. So in 2016 I basically made a commitment to myself to start singing again.
“I told myself this is a God-given talent; I never had any form of training. I believe that when there is something inside of you that you can’t seem to run from, something that the thought of it excites you and makes you feel passionate, you would do yourself a disservice to stop that particular thing,” she said with her eyes bright and dreamy.
Raring to go, with the fire now burning deep within, Ava auditioned for the Honey Jam showcase and the rest, as they say, is history.
“I heard of Honey Jam but I couldn’t audition because I was leaving for Trinidad for school. When I came back, I decided to audition. But at first I second-guessed myself. I ended up preparing for the audition three hours before. I woke up the morning and practised Love Song and did the audition. I remember getting the phone call a week or so later telling me I got the highest tally of points from the judges. That’s where it began for me,” she said.
Since then she has performed at two Honey Jam showcases as well as Honey Jazz.
“When I sing and I see that reaction on people’s faces or I hear their reactions I realise that my voice is something that could impact another person’s life. Honey Jam has given me that platform and a way for me to develop,” she said.
As for what’s next for her singing career, Ava said she’s looking to develop as much as she can.
“There are no concrete plans right now. I think I’m in a developmental stage which for me involves understanding the technique behind my vocal ability. I think that a part of becoming excellent is spending time developing what you already have as a strength and work on your weaknesses.
“I haven’t yet written any concrete original pieces so that’s something I want to focus on in the next few months in terms of honing any writing ability that I may have,” she said, adding that she would definitely welcome gigs to further help her develop.
So for now, Ava is enjoying the best of both worlds. And as she said, she can never choose one over the other.
“I would never give up one. I personally believe that every human being has the capacity to do more than one thing and to do them with excellence. You would not have an inherent desire placed inside of you to do a thing if you don’t have the capacity to do it.
“The mere fact that I’ve reached this stage and that I’ve never given up on my degree and my qualifications, the fact that despite the bumps in the road towards me getting out there as a singer I’m still here. I can’t say I would ever divorce one for the other,” she said.
Ava added that her philosophy, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”, definitely helped when it came with balancing the two. (DB)
BARBADOS: Ava Lee – lawyer singing the blues
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