Ava Rose

Ava Rose Johnson became the youngest winner at the Native American Music Awards.

Ava Rose Johnson wanted to honor her friend and now she has made history.

The 12-year-old Red Oak girl became the youngest ever Native American Music Awards winner for her song “Heaven’s Window,” which honors a friend who died in a 2017 ATV crash.

“I was really excited but I didn’t know if I was going to win because it was such a big category,” Johnson said.

Johnson won Best Independent Recording By A New Artist, which originally had 151 nominees with the Red Oak girl representing the Osage and Cherokee Nations at the ceremony in Niagara Falls, New York.

The Native American Music Awards are presented annually by The Native American Music Association, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization incorporated in 1998 to recognize musical achievement among Native Americans.

Johnson wrote “Heaven’s Window” to honor Behr Place, her friend who died in an ATV crash when he was 10 years old, and to give people grieving the loss of a loved one some hope.

“I just wanted it to be a symbol of hope for his family and friends and for whoever has lost a loved one,” Johnson said.

Johnson co-wrote the song with Florida Georgia Line’s Sean Fuller and country artists Billy Dawson and Lainey Edwards — who all performed in April with her during an official release ceremony in Red Oak.

She said people have told her the song helped in their grieving process.

“It wasn’t just Behr’s family, there’s people all over the United States that’s messaging me about it,” Johnson said.

“I’m so proud; I mean it’s crazy she’s 12 years old and getting to do all these things and it’s just amazing,” said her dad, Nathan Johnson.

Johnson is preparing for recording of a music video in New Mexico and hopes to continue her music career, saying she hopes to one day win a Grammy or an Oscar.

She is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube at Ava Rose Johnson Music.

Contact Adrian O’Hanlon III at aohanlon@mcalesternews.com

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