ZZ Ward: unequivocally captivating

ZZ Ward is the woman that makes a white t-shirt look fierce. Her voice, smooth and sultry as evening bourbon, leaves you with an insatiable craving for more. Effortless, lyrical, and delicious, ZZ Ward delivers. Plain and simple. She has created a collection of songs that satisfy from start to finish. Till the Casket Drops is the ultimate end-of-summer album. Ward’s latest single 365 Days sends a blistering farewell to season’s romance.

The lights are dim. Ward sits on a beat up, cracked, leather couch as she waits for her show to begin. She has bright, piercing, eyes. They’re half-lidded with a coolness that doesn’t emote an unwelcoming arrogance. She immediately offers her hand in greeting, and smiles warmly. Ward has another great skill tucked within her sleeve—she’s personable and friendly. She makes you comfortable and warm, as if you’re simply catching up with an old friend.

When she takes the stage, she greets Chicago loudly, with a confidence and bravado that speaks right to the heart of her fans, “Chicago! You have been, and always will be, one of my favorite stops.” She talks of heartache, making bad decisions, and how that has influenced her latest album, “I dated a boy…I got rid of his ass, so what the fuck, right?”She opens her mouth to sing, and it’s instant. Entrancing. ZZ Ward drips her vocal chocolate all over your strawberry soul. Her fearless performance shows her confidence, her pride, and her passion for rhapsodic beauty. Hurricane ZZ  is one to watch. Prepare the hatches and fortify the structures, she’s taking the world by storm.

You recently bridged the gap between being a, “new,” artist and blowing up the music scene. That has to be an amazing feeling. You went from releasing EPs and mix-tapes to having a full-length debut album and headlining your own tour. What has that been like?

It’s been a hell of a year. A lot of touring, a lot of growth, a lot of building, a lot of fans, a lot more success. It’s been a really incredible year.

It’s really impressive when you have an artist that can deliver live, what they can deliver via studio recording. I actually prefer your live sets, I think a little more of you shines through.

Well thank you!

But where do you see your music going? What does your future hold in the world of music?

Where do I see my career going? I mean, I think there’s only so much you can control. So my goal is to continually make, you know, the best music I can. And continue to be able to play music, and to continue to have a fan base. I think that would be the best thing ever. The rest is up to the stars, we’ll see what happens.

Any dream collaborations?

I’d love to work with Azalea Banks, Gary Clark Jr., Kanye West.

How do you feel about your role as a woman in music? Obviously there’s something very unique to your image, but there’s still something inherently sexy about a woman in a white t-shirt singing in a dirty saloon.

(Laughs) Thank you! I mean, I think there are certain benefits to being a woman in music. And there are certain things that are harder for women in music. I think there are certain things that I can’t change, and I just accept that I can’t change some of those things. I’ll always make the kind of music that I want to make, and I don’t care what people think. I hope my fans like my music, but at the end of the day, the best I can do for them is to be honest and real with my music and what I want to create, and we’ll see where that lands. There are other stigmas to being a woman in the music industry. There are certain things that men can get away with that women can’t, and that’s kind of the way that it is. I don’t think I can change those things. But, you know, I’ll change what I can. I’ll take small steps to changing things, and that’s just by making music that people dig and people like.

Well, your fans certainly dig your music. I love your album from start to finish. We’ve had many amazing duets together.

(Laughs) Right on!

ZZ continues her North American tour this winter. The southern states will be graced with her presence in the months to come.

-Cole Scott, Junior Editor, OnTour Magazine