Ava Cardoso-Smith: What Janis Joplin Means to Me


Stuck actress Ava Cardoso-Smith told us all about her love of Janis Joplin. Read her full story here:

I would love to converse with Janis Joplin. Not only am I a singer and musician myself, but I’ve always been drawn to music from the 60s and 70s, like classic rock, jazz, and the blues. There’s an energy in music from those eras that can’t quite be replicated, because the songs during that time were born from political anguish, social backlash, and antiwar sentiments.

Janis Joplin was a polarizing figure because she shattered the image of what a woman should be. She was powerful, crass, and had a guttural, deep voice. I, too, have a deep singing register that betrays my appearance. Though I used to be self-conscious about having a non-traditional singing voice, I now find it one of my defining, and most cherished, traits. 

If I could meet Janis, I’d discuss how she used her voice as a tool rather than a weakness. I’d also ask her how culture shaped her music, and how she thinks her music might be different today versus in her time. There are so many differences in the way music is marketed and produced today; for example, the technological advancements have allowed for the easy digitization and spread of songs, and social media apps like Instagram and Snapchat have exponentially increased the exposure a musician can have.

Getting her insight would be extremely valuable, especially because I identify with her in many ways—as a musician, a feminist, and a free thinker.

Who do you admire? Tell us all about it at submissions@brat.com.