Women We Love Wednesdays: ZZ Ward sings the blues like a boss
It's no secret that women can rock just as hard, if not harder, than men. But there seems to be a disparity when it comes to their representation in the music industry. They are topping the charts but barely getting any slots at big name festivals (this years Coachella lineup is 90 percent male). To do what we can to celebrate these women and give them the positive recognition they deserve, each week Music Times will introduce you to a female in the music industry whom we love.
Singer-songwriters, rappers, DJs, producers, filmmakers, and any woman who is part of the music industry is fair game for this segment. So read on, and get to know the women who continue to wow us. This week we'd like to show off ...
Name: ZZ Ward (born Zsuzsanna Eva Ward)
From: Roseburg, Oregon
Why We Love Her: She plays a mean harmonica and can belt the blues like no one's business — playing piano and guitar to boot. She melds blues, rock and hip-hop and pop together for a fascinating sound that has inspired everyone from Kendrick Lamar to Michael Fitzpatrick of Fitz and the Tantrums to collaborate with her.
Background: Ward played in her first band at age 12 as the lead singer of her dad's blues group. She moved to Los Angeles four years ago where she signed to E. Kidd Bogart's Boardwalk Entertainment Group. Her first release was a free mixtape, Eleven Roses, which came out in February 2012 and featured her interpretations of recent tracks by other artists. That May, she dropped her first EP, Criminal with the full-length album Til the Casket Drops out October of the same year.
Since then, she has received praise from The New York Times, who said "Her energy evokes Tina Turner's, her chops Aretha Franklin's and her soul Etta James's", was named as one of Fuses Top 30 must-see artists at SXSW. She has performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Conan and Good Morning America.
Most recently, she released a cover of Son House's "Grinnin In Your Face" as well as the unreleased original track "Everybody Wants To Be Famous" for record store day in April.
She is now on tour in support of her debut effort, so look out for her if she's got a gig near you. We can't wait to hear more from this powerhouse. For now, check out the acoustic version of her song "Charlie Ain't Home" featuring Ali Shaheed Muhammad. Let us know what you think in the comments section below and tell us who else you'd like us to feature!