ZZ Ward didn’t have to look far for inspiration on her second full-length album, 2017’s The Storm. Equally evocative of blues grit and hip-hop bounce, the Los Angeles-based vocal powerhouse and multi-instrumentalist leapt forward by taking a deeper look at some of her earliest inspirations—including Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Johnson, and Vera Ward Hall and Big Mama Thornton.
“For me, this album wasn’t really about experimenting,” she admits. “It was more about simplicity, honing in on what I love about music and what makes me who I am as an artist. Growing up, I listened to a lot of hip-hop and blues, and I love those two genres so much. Sometimes, to evolve you don’t need to go outside of yourself; you can reach further inside of yourself instead.”
Elsewhere on the record, she serves up a gospel-style plea on the stirring and stark “Help Me Mama.” “‘Help Me Mama’ is about my personal revelation that not everything in life is what it seems. Growing up I had expectations about what my relationships should be like with other people, the world and even myself. Realizing nothing would ever be perfect, I had to take control of my life and, unlike when I was a kid, Mama isn’t always going to be around to solve my problems.
ZZ Ward will be coming to The Showbox with Black Pistol Fire and Billy Raffoul on Saturday, March 3rd. You can find tickets here.