Music student works with multi-Grammy nominated artist Flo Rida before pursuing her degree at Troy

Lauren Post

Staff Writer

A music industry student  worked with rapper, singer and songwriter Flo Rida before joining Troy University as a student.

Ava Symone Barrett, a junior from Freeport, the Bahamas was a signed artist on his label, International Music Group. Flo Rida and the label produced both his artistic work and hers.

She began working on her musical career at a young age.

“At 15, I was writing and producing my own music,” Barrett said.

It was this drive for success that caught the attention of multi-Grammy nominated music artist Tramar Lacel Dillard, well-known as Flo Rida.

Within a week of hearing her sing, Flo Rida’s management flew Barrett out to Miami, where she recorded with Dillard. They continued to fly her out until she was 17.

“It was like a dream,” Barrett said. “I learned a lot from that experience.

“It taught me what it truly meant to be professional in that tough industry.”

While flying to Miami on the weekends as a teenager, Barrett also had to juggle a full load of schoolwork.

“It was extremely difficult,” Barrett said. “I was still in high school.

“I was having to balance two lives.”

While most people her own age looked forward to the weekend, Barrett had prior obligations after each school week.

“I really had to grow up more quickly than everyone else.”

Barrett, however, said she would not have traded the experience for the world because it prepared her for the future.

Zack Scott, a sophomore music industry major from Troy, commended Barrett for her ability to balance her work as an artist with her life as a student.

“She’s very motivated to be the greatest artist/student she can be,” Scott said. “She is always on top of everything outside of the classroom, on the stage, or even in the practice rooms.

“She never has trouble with helping others when they need her. I know there have been several times where she’ll remind me about homework and I won’t even ask her to remind me. She’s just a great all-around friend.”

By the end of her senior year in high school, Barrett began planning for her future in education. She was immediately drawn to Troy’s strong international program and community.

“I totally appreciate that because that was something I had not seen from other colleges,” Barrett said.

Finishing her third year of study at Troy, Barrett gave thanks to Robert W. Smith, coordinator of the music industry program.

“He taught me that it is one thing to have talent, but to also have a strong musical business sense is extremely important because this industry is extremely business-practical,” Barrett said. “It is talent-based, but it is also important to maintain yourself as a person, professionally.”

In regard to Troy’s music department, Barrett said she was happy to be able to work with everyone in the department as she continues to learn and be inspired by the faculty’s wisdom.

Barrett also inspires others within the music department.

“She has a very unique style in which she can vocally transition quickly between genres of music,” said Zach Ellis, a senior music industry major from Troy.

For the future, Barrett looks forward to traveling and releasing more of her own music as well as starting her own recording label to give others the opportunity she was given at such a young age.

“I would love to give that opportunity to as many kids as possible,” Barrett said. “To me, it’s important to recognize, promote and celebrate the arts as much as possible.

“I want to remind people that sharing their own art is an important and beautiful thing.”

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