By Melissa Bordeau
Chicago is home of the blues, so it makes sense a bluesy female artist named ZZ Ward would travel through the snow to our hometown, right? Yes. But, this artist offers more than blues to her fans; she has a strong hip hop influence in her music as well. Ward’s debut album Til the Casket Drops, released last fall, features her working with hip hop artists such as Kendrick Lamar and Pete Rock.
ZZ will be coming to Chicago as one of the many destinations on her sold out tour down to SXSW, with a show set for this Sunday, February 24th at Lincoln Hall with Delta Rae. The show is sold out, but don’t worry--there is still a way to get tickets still- find out more in the interview below!
WCR: Your Lincoln Hall show is sold out, but you are giving out free tickets for the show for the best 30 second dance video to your popular song “Put the Gun Down.” That is a very creative idea--how’d you come up with it?
ZZ: I just thought of it. My manager said we had some extra tickets for our show and I wanted to make people work for it. I have seen a few videos, and am excited to see more.
Saturday you are performing at the Apple store on Michigan Ave. Why Apple? That’s interesting place to play.
No idea…I kind of just go where they tell me to go.
How does it compare playing a small venue that holds 300 vs. a large festival that has over 3,000 people attending?
Playing at a large festival with 3,000 people…it is a challenge, but it is a challenge either way, big or small.
Do you prefer one over the other?
No, I always say that whether it is five people or 5,000 people it’s still the same, as long as people are enjoying your music.
How do you prepare for your show?
I warm up vocally. Then me and my band, we have a group circle and we cheer--this is how my band and I connect before we go out on stage and we do this before every show.
What’s your vision for your musical future?
To continue writing the best songs I can write. This has been a wild year, seeing the crowds grow; it has just been wild. I hope to see things continue to grow, that would be amazing.
For your popular song “Put the Gun Down” what came first the lyrics or the beat?
That’s a great question--the melody came first actually. I typically write that way for my songs. I like to do melody first, convey motions in the melody then I go to lyrics after that.
You’ve been getting interviewed a lot lately--what’s one question you wish someone would ask you that you haven’t been asked?
What am I super excited about right now?
Well, what are you super excited about right now?
I am getting a puppy, I am so excited. March 17th. She will be a Border Terrier puppy, a light brown color, basically like Toto.
Will she be coming along on your tours?
Yes, it will awesome.
Even though ZZ Ward’s show Sunday at Lincoln Hall is sold out, you can still grab tickets if you got the moves. Go to ZZ Ward’s Twitter page for details on the dance competition. Or you can head over to Michigan Ave Saturday to see a live in store performance at the Apple Store at 4 p.m.