American singer Ava on her four-year romance with icon Bowie in the 1970s
US SINGER Ava Cherry opened up about her four-year relationship with David Bowie in the 1970s and revealed, “I don’t think I’ve loved a man the way I loved him.”
She met the iconic music star 50 years ago at Genesis nightclub in New York City, where she worked as a waitress, when she was just 18.
Bowie was married to Angie Barnett at the time, but after telling Ava it was more of a ‘partnership’ and an open marriage, the pair embarked on an intense romance at the height of his fame.
Speaking from her home in Chicago, Ava – who will be performing at the Bowie Festival in Dublin this week – told the Irish Sun: “As soon as I met him he became my lover and my best friend. I don’t think not to have loved a man as I loved him.
“He showed me so much love and he protected me. I felt so close to him.
Ava, who was a bunny living in the Playboy mansion when she was 16 but an aspiring singer when she met Bowie, had been given a copy of Rise of Fall by Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, by her agent and she immediately fell in love with the music and the man himself.
She was then working as a waitress at celebrity haunt Genesis when Bowie arrived in 1972 with Stevie Wonder and his girlfriend.
Recalling that first meeting, she said: “Bowie wasn’t so famous in the States yet, but my agent came to me that night and said you know that album I gave you. given, well, he’s here, would you like to meet him?
“I knew Stevie so I said absolutely. David Bowie had this electric mop of red hair and wore an electric blue suit. He kissed my hand and told me I was cute. I could tell that he liked me and he asked me to join them.
“I was already in love with him after listening to the Ziggy Stardust album. That night, Aretha Franklin was there, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Luther Vandross and everyone was singing.
“I sang that night and he said ‘I didn’t know you were a singer.’ He then invited me to tour with him in Japan but I had to come to the RCA offices the next day just to an audition.
“So the next day I was there, the audition went well and he invited me on tour. We had sex for the first time that night.
Ava, who is enjoying her visit to Dublin this week and will perform at Opium on Friday as part of the Dublin Bowie Festival, has quit her job, moved back to Chicago and sold her flat in preparation for her trip to Japan with Bowie.
But her dreams turned into a nightmare when she received a telegram informing her that the singer was ill and the tour had been cancelled.
Heartbroken, she finally decided to move to France in search of him.
The teenager flew with just her model book and after traveling to Paris she found modeling work before finding it again in the French capital.
She added: “I had never been to Europe so it was huge but I just had to see him again. Then I was in a bar one night and heard his name and that he was in this famous Castel club opposite.
“I was on a staircase and could see his party below. I called Stuey for his caretaker who I knew and he brought me to him.
“He just said ‘Ava, I can’t believe that’s you’. And that was it, we picked up where we left off in New York.
Ava said when she first met him, she never knew Bowie was married, but met Angie very early in their relationship.
She added: “After my RCA audition, we slept right away because that’s what you did then if you met someone you immediately connected with.
“The next morning, Angie came in, introduced herself to me and kissed me on the cheek. I was just in a small towel.
“I asked David who this was and he said ‘oh, that’s my wife’. I was shocked, I didn’t know he was married and I wouldn’t have slept with him if I did. knew.
“He said well, we have an open marriage, it’s more of a partnership. She sleeps whoever she wants to sleep and I sleep whoever I want and it works out well.
“Angie and I became friends and she was the one who invited me to live in their house on Oakley Street in London.
“But after about a month Angie said ‘she needs to be somewhere else’. David put me in a flat on King’s Road after that.
Ava was one of the inspirations for the Young Americans album and sang on all tracks, including the iconic Fame, co-written with John Lennon.
She added: “John was David’s hero, he loved him and was so excited the day he arrived at the studio.”
Ava said Bowie was going to divorce Angie and marry her at some point, but when the star’s cocaine addiction escalated after realizing he had millions of dollars less than he did thought so, they broke up and ended up going their separate ways.
Ava, who has also worked with Luther Vandross and Curtis Mayfield, has pursued her own singing career.
She was close to people like Hugh Hefner, since she lived at the Playboy Mansion, who she insisted that no girl do anything she didn’t want to do while she was there and he there was never anything sexual if the girls didn’t want it.
She befriended Warren Beatty and the Rolling Stones, describing Keith Richards as a “good friend” and Charlie Watts as “the nicest man”.
She added: “Myself and Mick (Jagger) were more than just friends and that’s all I will say about that.”
But it was her years with Bowie that left a lasting impression as she never married or had children because of her undying love from the star.
She said: “I was with him in the 70s and I was an integral part of young Americans. This is my contribution to popular culture.
“I introduced him to soul music in New York. He wanted to make a soul record and that’s what Young Americans is.
“We never argued or fought. There were rumors that his money was being spent all over the world and he realized it had happened.
“He started doing more drugs. He didn’t want to believe that someone was taking money from him.
“When we parted I felt destroyed and so hurt that he had been hurt. The day I left him a friend of mine rescued me, I would have had a nervous breakdown.
“He made me feel like I wasn’t lost. I know he cared about me and loved me.
“He was a chameleon and there were different stages of his life like his many alter egos, that was the stage of his life that I was a part of.
“He wasn’t on drugs when we first met. He could have smoked a joint and drank red wine. He was so calm, but the drugs made him cold and cold.
“But after we separated, I never saw him again. I had known his wife Iman from when I was a model, but when they got married, I decided it was best not to reach out. hand.
HE WAS SPECIAL
“I was completely devastated when he died. I thought back to every moment we had together.
“I didn’t know then that he would be this icon, that streets would bear his name.
“I just knew he was special and I knew it was my destiny to be a part of him.
“I always felt that my karma was tied to David Bowie and Luther Vandross. Our karma was intertwined like a triangle forever.
“It gives me great comfort to be part of this great man and part of pop culture.
“It was motivating and exhilarating and I will never forget it, which would be very difficult to do.”
Ava said she looked forward to visiting all the spiritual sites when she visits Ireland this month.
She will perform alongside tribute band I Heart Bowie at Opium on April 22 as part of the Dublin Bowie Festival, which runs until April 24.
Tickets are available at www.dublinbowiefestival.ie.