photo by Andi Elloway (those boots!!!)
ZZ Ward is exploding right in front of our eyes. This talented songwriter wowed the crowds at sxsw, with everyone singing every word of Put the Gun Down, her single that is shooting up the charts. Her Denver show at Bluebird sold out overnight, so she got moved to the much larger (and beautiful) Gothic Theater. I got to speak to her today about the upcoming show on May 29th, and she is sweet and grateful and so deserving of the fame she’s gaining. Don’t miss the Gothic show, it’s going to be a high energy soul spilling.
Leslie Loudspeaker: I caught you at sxsw and the audience totally loved you, what did you think of that whole experience?
ZZ Ward: Oh that’s a great question, I mean sxsw was the second year I had done it, and it was so different from the first year, because people actually knew who I was. It was really fun, I mean the first year we did it it was grueling we played so many shows, like 4 or 5 shows a day. Just crazy.
LL: It’s hard to get your gear around!
ZZ: Oh yeah, sooo hard. But this year we also played a lot of shows and in the middle of it we actually flew to Denver and did the Kegs and Eggs festival, then we flew back to sxsw, so you know, Denver had a little place in my sxsw! It was great, it was following a really long tour for me so it was great, going to Austin and having the hot weather was really cool.
LL: What’s it like having Put the Gun Down being such a big hit? When you were playing it before, was it an audience favorite then?
ZZ: Yeah, people always liked Put the Gun Down and when I wrote the record I didn’t know it was going to be my single, but it’s been really fun, when we play it everyone knows the song and all sing the lyrics, so it’s been really cool, I’ve gotten to play it on TV a lot, like the Tonight Show and Conan O’Brien
LL: So your show here in Denver got moved to the Gothic, how does that feel to just be quickly on the rise right now?
ZZ: I’m not going to lie, it feels REALLY good, Denver has always been a really cool city for me. I always have a lot of support there from the people that live there, just one of my favorite places since the very beginning, and yeah we put tickets for sale for the show and we sold out overnight, and we moved to a bigger venue, I am so excited, it’s very flattering.
LL: When you finish a show how do you decompress?
ZZ: I usually just go and wind down, I mean it is a process, it’s an interesting question, I’ve never had anyone ask that before. A lot of times you play a show, and you have to get the energy going in the room of a thousand people, and I have to start that energy and it’s just contagious, but it’s a great question, how do I turn it off when I go to sleep? You know, you’re up at 7am still watching tv. I have a dog that I will bring on tour with me.
LL: Aw, what kind of dog?
ZZ: She’s a border terrier, her name is Muddy Waters. She hasn’t been on tour yet but she’s been to a couple shows, since I got her after the last big tour. She’s been on about 7 flights already though, and she does really great.
LL: Rockstar dog!
ZZ: I know, when we are home, she’s like “what are we doing, why aren’t we leaving, we need to go somewhere”!
LL: So how is your life different from a year ago, so much has changed!
ZZ: It’s very different, I feel like I’m in a really good place, though. I mean, I put out the record in October, and it feels good to have fans, it feels good to have people love my music, with all the writing and all that time that I put into this album and how passionate I was about making this record, it really feels like it paid off in the sense that it means something to people, you know? I have people come up to me at shows and say my record helped them get through a situation. Things like that are really incredible, it just makes sense for me to keep making music because I know I have people out there that want to hear it now.
LL: What is your process when it comes to writing new songs, do they come to you or do you try to schedule a time?
ZZ: At this point in my life I have to schedule a time, because I’m so busy, but usually I try to write about things I’m going through, and I have a lot to say about it, which is the first thing, because if you sit around going “man, what do I want to talk about right now” no, I’m an overthinker, I think about things WAY too much, which suits me very well as a songwriter, so I usually just try to come up with a good concept first.
LL: Who are your biggest influences music wise and what are you listening to now?
ZZ: My biggest influences are songwriters that write their own music, but also great singers are a big influence to me. Tina Turner is a big influence but also Tom Petty and David Bowie, and then I’m checking out the Emili Sande new record, and it’s really great.
LL: I haven’t heard her, I’ll check her out right now!
ZZ: Yeah, you definitely should! She’s awesome.
LL: Well thank you for your time, ZZ, and I can’t wait for the Gothic show!
ZZ: Well thank you very much and I will see you there!
Official Video for ZZ Ward’s “Put the Gun Down”
Emile Sande cover of Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” big band style for the Great Gatsby soundtrack