Q&A with ZZ WARD – The Woman Whose “Energy evokes Tina Turner’s, her chops Aretha Franklin’s and her soul Etta James.”
Posted On 07 Jul 2015
Tag: Alabama Shakes, All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, allaccessmusicnicole, Aretha Franklin, Bad Blood, David Bowie, DOPE, Etta James, Fitz and the Tantrums, Freddy Mercury, Kendrick Lamar, Led Zeppelin, LOVE 3X, Neil Young, One Republic, Pete Rock, Pharrell, Pharrell Williams, Ryan Tedder, San Andreas, T. Swizzle, Taylor Swift, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Weeknd, This Means War, Til The Casket Drops, Tina Turner, Tom Petty, Zoe Kravitz, ZZ Ward
ZZ Ward‘s debut LP Til The Casket Drops delivered a string of AAA radio-adored singles (“Put Down The Gun,” “Criminal” and “365 Days”) and established her a festival favorite. The singer/songwriter changes lanes, however, on the first taste of sophomore set This Means War (due September 18). ZZ’s latest single, “LOVE 3X” edges away from the bluesy rock of her early material in favor of a punchy, credible pop/rock sound that just has slightly broader appeal.
Read more in the interview below as All Access Music writer, Nicole DeRosa chats with the singer about her inspirations, her latest video for LOVE 3X and more!
ZZ, for those that are not familiar with you and your music, how did you get your start? Who or what was the catalyst for you to want to live the life of a musical gypsy?
My family was always into music. My Dad played the harmonica and my Mom was his number one fan! My parents always encouraged me with singing in front of crowds and dreaming big. I lived a very unconventional life, but it seemed conventional to me.
You have worked with so many talented artists including Kendrick Lamar, Ryan Tedder, Pete Rock, and Fitz of Fitz and the Tantrums to name a few. Who would you love to collaborate with next?
Pharrell. Hands down. That would be a dream. I would ask him so many questions about production and music. I think there is something to be said for someone that writes music that has truly changed the face of music today.
The New York Times has said of you, “Her energy evokes Tina Turner’s, her chops Aretha Franklin’s and her soul Etta James.” That is quite an incredible shout out! How do you respond to something like that?
Hearing that back in 7th grade would have been great! (laughs)
Who have been your inspirations growing up that still inspire you today?
David Bowie, Tom Petty, Freddy Mercury, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and Neil Young. I am always inspired by great songwriters.
What did you learn between your debut album, Til the Casket Drops (2012), collaborations, and playing live, that you felt you wanted to infuse into your latest album, This Means War?
I learned a lot playing live…mostly what worked and impacted people the most, as far as what felt good and what people were singing along to with me. The audience really enjoys the more uptempo and rhythmic songs that are more simple and simplistic and I wrote more with that in mind.
What was the inspiration for your new single, “LOVE 3X”? Did you help come up with the treatment for the video as well?
I was hella’ involved with the duo of directors…I wanted to make a video that people can remember and put a lot of energy into as well.Working with MIE on the music video for “LOVE 3X” was a wonderful experience. MIE is the studio that previously worked on Beyonce’s “Grown Woman” video too.
I did a lot of research and watched a lot of videos on mute to focus on the visuals without hearing the sound. I was really stimulated by animation.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not performing or playing music?
I love to go shopping and I love to go to the movies and pour my candy into my popcorn! (laughs)
What was the last movie you saw?
DOPE with Zoe Kravitz. It was reallllly good!
I want to see San Andreas but all my friends are too freaked out to go with me! (laughs)
Who is in your current playlist? What bands or artists are in current rotation?
I love the new Alabama Shakes album! I’m obsessed with T.Swizzle’s “Bad Blood” and I love Kendrick’s sick verses on that track! I’m also digging The Weeknd.
What’s on tap for you ZZ? What are you most excited about for this year?
I’m excited for more people to find out about my music and watch this all grow. I’m also really excited to watch my fanbase elevate and see more faces at shows and festivals!
To learn more about ZZ WARD, visit her HERE