13 Songs, 44 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

In the second decade of the 21st century, it's surprising that an artist this polished and professional didn’t arrive via a music-related reality show. Instead, Zsuzsanna Eva Ward—a.k.a. ZZ Ward—grew up in the Pacific Northwest, spending rainy days indoors with her father’s blues albums and her brother’s hip-hop collections. She started singing in her dad’s blues band at age 12 before joining various hip-hop acts in her teenage years. Jump to 2012, and she's released a debut album that solidly reflects her musical upbringing. The opening title track on Til the Casket Drops pulses with a seductive and gritty urban rhythm; Ward sings like a tougher Fiona Apple over a flowing blend of rootsy string arrangements set to a tight mix of heavy beats. “Put the Gun Down” is equally dramatic but noticeably more blues-inspired, save for the earworm chorus in which Ward’s powerful voice comes with barbed pop hooks. “Blue Eyes Blind” is sung so soulfully that during the more intense moments it’s hard not to imagine a young Amy Winehouse.

EDITORS’ NOTES

In the second decade of the 21st century, it's surprising that an artist this polished and professional didn’t arrive via a music-related reality show. Instead, Zsuzsanna Eva Ward—a.k.a. ZZ Ward—grew up in the Pacific Northwest, spending rainy days indoors with her father’s blues albums and her brother’s hip-hop collections. She started singing in her dad’s blues band at age 12 before joining various hip-hop acts in her teenage years. Jump to 2012, and she's released a debut album that solidly reflects her musical upbringing. The opening title track on Til the Casket Drops pulses with a seductive and gritty urban rhythm; Ward sings like a tougher Fiona Apple over a flowing blend of rootsy string arrangements set to a tight mix of heavy beats. “Put the Gun Down” is equally dramatic but noticeably more blues-inspired, save for the earworm chorus in which Ward’s powerful voice comes with barbed pop hooks. “Blue Eyes Blind” is sung so soulfully that during the more intense moments it’s hard not to imagine a young Amy Winehouse.

TITLE TIME
3:05
2:49
3:24
3:40
4:01
3:19
3:30
3:33
3:18
3:50
2:49
3:35
3:27

About ZZ Ward

Playing a raw, powerful blend of blues and hip-hop, singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist ZZ Ward was born Zsuzsanna Eva Ward in Abington, Pennsylvania on June 2, 1986. Ward spent her childhood in the small town of Roseburg, Oregon, splitting her listening time between her father's blues collection and her brother's hip-hop records, a blend that would inform her later sound and style. She was singing in her father's blues band by the time she was 12, and by 16 she was performing with R&B and hip-hop acts in Eugene. Moving to L.A. and hoping to break into the West Coast music business, Ward's unique blend of blues, rock, hip-hop, R&B, and neo-soul, as well as her multi-instrumental skills (she's proficient on guitar, piano, and harmonica), brought her a recording deal with Boardwalk Entertainment Group and Hollywood Records, and she began work on a debut album. A free mixtape, Eleven Roses, with Ward's interpretations of contemporaneous tracks by other artists, appeared in February of 2012, with an EP, Criminal, following in May. Til the Casket Drops, the completed album, showed up in October that same year. A track from the album, "Put the Gun Down," rose to number 39 on the Alternative Rock charts, while two other tunes, "Last Love Song" and "365 Days," cracked the Top 30 of the Adult Alternative charts. In 2015, Ward released the four-song EP Love and War, which was intended as a teaser for a 2016 album called This Means War, but the full-length never appeared. Instead, she worked throughout 2016 on the album that became 2017's The Storm. Preceded by the singles "The Deep" (featuring Joey Purp) and "Help Me, Mama," The Storm arrived in June 2017. ~ Steve Leggett & Mark Deming

  • ORIGIN
    Abington, PA
  • BORN
    June 2, 1986

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