ZZ Ward: Having Fans Was an Amazing New Experience for Me

ZZ Ward has been turning heads nonstop with her soulful performances for the last year and a half. After crisscrossing North America on multiple tours and playing at SXSW the past two years, the buzz has been building for this singer-songwriter whose sound is a potent mash-up of rock, soul, hip-hop, and R&B. She's playing to sizable crowds nowadays, but she has not forgotten some of the first surreal moments she experienced on tour.

"I remember one of my first solo shows, where I realized people knew the lyrics to my songs and my album wasn't even out yet," Ward says. "It was so new to me, having fans -- fans that have never met you, but they love your music and they love you and are so excited you're there. It's a really amazing experience."

The fans' enthusiasm at her shows has been all the fuel she needs to keep going.


"It really does help," says Ward. "It makes a huge difference. When we walk into a room and the people are pumped, and they're cheering and screaming, and they want to have a good time -- that makes it so much more fun. No matter how tired you are sometimes, people can really get you pumped up."

People have good reason to be pumped up about Ward, because she brings it on her full-length debut, 2012's 'Til the Casket Drops. Ward's throaty vocals give the hip-hop piano title track a confident vibe, and she puts the smack down on a woman trying to take her man in the Motown-flavored rocker "Put the Gun Down."

Ward's lyrics make the already groovy "Move Like U Stole It" hotter than a five-alarm fire, and when she howls on the bluesy "Cryin Wolf (Featuring Kendrick Lamar)," the results are electric. Her live shows produce a similar result.

"Fi-yah!" Ward exclaims, when asked what her live show is like.

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Brian Palmer
Contact: Brian Palmer