In a moment when streets the world over are teeming with people of every race, gender, and age, walking together in pursuit of racial equality and a better way of life, it becomes that much more encouraging look up and see hope projected through art created by those in the up-and-coming generations.
A prolific, motivated, multi-faceted creative who just happens to be 15, Ava Della Pietra is premiering her latest message of hope and inspiration – a single titled “Optimist” – today on American Songwriter. Having first faced condescending roadblocks to her theatrical aspirations at the impressionable age of six (only to go on to play a role in the 25th anniversary Broadway production of Les Misérables,) the motivation to never give up, prove doubters wrong, and to think of new ways to get things accomplished has shaped not only Della Pietra’s musical ideas but also her overall outlook toward life and how to carry herself through it.
“I wrote ‘Optimist’ because there are a lot of problems that face society today. No matter how hard it gets, we need to realize that we are one community, and together, we can have hope for a better future. With all the adversity, we must take action, rise above, and know that we will be alright. We all need a little optimism right now,” says Della Pietra.
Given that Della Pietra has already gained familiarity and comfort with public performance and the high expectations of professional musical theater work, it’s not surprising that “Optimist” stands out so strongly as a single. Even with modern pop production full of drum machine beats, bridge finger snaps and vocal delay, Della Pietra’s practice and experience comes through. While both the instrumental backing and Della Pietra’s vocals do exude a smoothness and a sheen of radio-ready quality, Della Pietra’s singing isn’t solely reliant on an artificial hand to keep pitch, project dynamically, or sing with just the right amount of panache to present a sense of motivated enthusiasm but stop short of arrogance.
Don’t worry how things should be
Focus on the way the world could be
If we choose happiness it would be
Every cloud has a silver lining
Look up and we will find it
long as we just keep on trying
There’s an emotional brightness and honest effort in the vocal delivery as lyrics at the ends of verses are clear and consonants get their full enunciation. While one might fear such heavy clarity could make “Optimist” sound vocally stiff, Della Pietra voice moves from lyric line to line with a flowing ease without compromising linguistic quality between them. Furthermore, the sharp consonant ending on the titular word itself gives the chorus and the whole song a really bold and decisive vocal punch, as the word sticks in the ear well after the chorus ends. This touch of unique attitude in Della Pietra’s voice fits with the song’s central theme of looking toward to the good and hoping for the best but knowing it’s not just about delicately cruising by to make both happen. This combination of social consciousness, mainstream sonic style, and buzz-word avoidant lyrical writing makes for a refreshing combination that is simultaneously catchy and unexpected.