Often one of the best things about attending a music festival is the discovery of up-and-coming or lesser known artists you might not have been familiar with beforehand. At this year’s Roots & Blues Festival the one newer artist most likely to standout among the veteran performers is Zsuzsanna Eva (ZZ) Ward.
Born in Pennsylvania in 1986, ZZ and her family moved to Roseburg, Oregon when she was a child. This is where ZZ joined her first band, along with her father, at just 12 years of age. As Ward recalls, the first song she ever sang as a member of the band was the Albert King tune “As the Years Go Passing By.” She has said growing up listening to her father’s blues records and her older brother’s hip-hop albums has had a direct influence on her style of music, which is a blending of the two genre.
Ward later moved to Los Angeles to being working on her debut album, the “Criminal” EP, which included collaborations with (among others) Kendrick Lamar and Michael Fitzpatrick of Fitz and the Tantrums.
While recording “Criminal”, Ward also worked on “Eleven Roses”, a free mix-tape she released featuring her interpretation of various pop songs recently in the charts. Both projects were released by the spring of 2012 and just five months later Ward would release her first full length album, “Til the Casket Drops.”
Ward has since gone on to perform on VH1, Good Morning America, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Conan. Critics have compared the energy of her performances, her voice and her style favorable to the likes of Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin and Etta James. Ward doesn’t just have a great voice either. She plays guitar, piano and harmonica on her albums.
ZZ Ward’s star continues to rise, with no sign of slowing down. Be ahead of the curve and take advantage of the opportunity to see her perform now when she takes the stage at the Roots & Blues Festival on the afternoon of Saturday, September 21. Don’t forget, you can still win a pair of “Whole Hog” VIP Passes and hotel accommodations for the festival from us.
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