Singer/songwriter ZZ Ward recently visited The Recording Academy's headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif., to participate in an exclusive GRAMMY.com interview and perform a brief acoustic set. Ward discussed common themes throughout her music, her forthcoming debut album, Til The Casket Drops, and the meaning behind songs such as "Last Love Song," among others. Ward's acoustic set included performances of "Put The Gun Down," "Last Love Song" and the title track from her new album.
"[Til The Casket Drops'] is about going to war for someone that you love, which is kind of the theme to the album," said Ward. "You have to fight for great love sometimes. I feel like I really just embraced who I was, even if it's different, on this record."
Born in Pennsylvania and raised in Roseburg, Ore., Ward's musical influences growing up included blues artists such as Muddy Waters, Big Mama Thornton, Robert Johnson, and Howlin' Wolf. Paired with her subsequent connection to the Eugene, Ore., hip-hop community, Ward developed her signature "dirty blues and beats" sound. In January she released Eleven Roses, a mixtape exploring the sonic combination of blues and hip-hop and featuring blues-infused interpretations of some of her favorite hip-hop songs, including Tyler The Creator's "Yonkers" and Childish Gambino's "You Know Me." Set for release on Oct. 16, Til The Casket Drops features 13 tracks, including "Put The Gun Down" and the title track, and guest appearances by hip-hop artists Freddie Gibbs, Kendrick Lamar and the O'My's. Ward is currently on tour throughout the United States with select dates scheduled through October.