Ava Max is running late. The pop star is meant to be promoting her debut album, Heaven & Hell, with a day full of Zoom interviews, but her laptop has disappeared.
It takes 30 minutes to track it down, while her PRs fire off apologetic emails to journalists sitting in online waiting rooms.
Then, as if by magic, she pops up on the screen, sitting on her sofa in LA, without a single, asymmetric hair out of place.
"I'm so sorry!" she says. "I was playing music outside yesterday and I left my laptop out there. When I couldn't find it in the house, I was freaking out."
Max is speaking two years after the release of her breakthrough single, Sweet But Psycho, which topped the charts in 20 countries, and sold two million copies in the UK alone.
Since then, the singer-songwriter - who was born Amanda Koci in 1994, to Albanian-immigrant parents in Milwaukee - has released enough thundering, maximalist pop anthems to destroy a spin class, from the outsider anthem So Am I to the current chart hit Kings And Queens.
Her debut album combines those seven singles with a clutch of new songs ("no ballads," she points out). With early reviews comparing it to Abba and Lady Gaga, it's on course to be the UK's number one on Friday.
"It's crazy to be releasing my debut during a global pandemic," says the star. "I miss being on tour - but I know that day will come, so as long as everyone's healthy, that's all that matters."
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