Singer/songwriter ZZ Ward recently performed a cover of John Legend's "Ordinary People" for an installment of The Recording Academy's ReImagined series. Linking GRAMMY history with the present, ReImagined is a performance-based series featuring an artist interpreting an iconic GRAMMY-winning song, an interview and performances of original music.
Legend's "Ordinary People" garnered the artist a GRAMMY for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance in 2005. Featured on Legend's debut album, Get Lifted, the song also earned nominations for Song Of The Year and Best R&B Song. In addition to her acoustic arrangement of "Ordinary People," Ward also performed two original songs, "Til The Casket Drops" and "Last Love Song."
"I chose [to cover 'Ordinary People'] because it's a very honest song," said Ward. "I can relate to what he's talking about in the story, the ups and downs of [a] relationship and it not always being this perfect picture that most people want it to be."
Born in Pennsylvania and raised in Roseburg, Ore., Ward grew up listening to blues artists such as Muddy Waters, Big Mama Thornton, Robert Johnson, and Howlin' Wolf. She began performing with her father in local blues bands as a child, further cementing her love of blues music. Ward's musical journey subsequently connected her with the hip-hop community in Eugene, Ore., where she went on to write and perform high-energy rap shows. Combined with her bluesy upbringing, Ward developed the foundation for her signature "dirty blues and beats" sound. In January Ward released Eleven Roses, a mixtape further exploring her sonic combination of blues and hip-hop. The mixtape features blues-fused interpretations of some of her favorite hip-hop songs, including Tyler The Creator's "Yonkers" and Childish Gambino's "You Know Me." Ward's full-length debut album is due later this year on Boardwalk/Hollywood Records. She is currently touring the UK and the United States, with dates scheduled through May.
(ZZ Ward appears courtesy of Hollywood Records.)