There’s something about the spritely Baltimore being formally known as Lauren Ruth Ward. Something. Ethereal yet earthy. Agitated but grounded. Internally vulnerable yet fierce.
Talk to her: her words bounce in multiple directions, yet are thoughtful coupled with the art of looking you directly in the eye. It’s almost unsettling, so much direct indirect contact, but there seems to be a wealth of emotional energy that she harnesses…only to be unleashed when she and her sultry and elastic voice take a stage. And on a musical level – let alone a human one – it’s a beautiful thing to witness.
All reasons why Ward landed on my list of 10 Artists To Watch in 2017.
Last year she released a self-titled acoustic EP, which captured her folk singer-side but with her right hand guitar man, Eduardo Rivera and producer Grey Goon her artistic voice is evolving into something punchier, grungier and bluesy. Having just officially marked two years in Los Angeles this past January, Ward is making and has made herself quite comfortable in her new hometown for on simple reason: because she wanted it. She wanted it and she worked it. Find out why and how and more in her own words…
Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance
“I had a plan. I had the outline and then lots of wiggle room so that I wouldn’t feel too kind of “married” or let down if something didn’t fall through…follow through. I had savings and three friends. I’m a hairstylist, so I gave myself a certain amount of time before I had to get a job with a salon here. Also had a really great door open with my boss, Sheila, back in Maryland – the salon there. She’s an amazing woman. She’s like, ‘You can come back if you need to, you can totally, like, try that out. If it doesn’t work, come back to Maryland.’ So I went there. I would go back home and work, like, a week to three weeks with a couple grand, nurse it, and then just put the EP out. That September I finally got a job up here at a salon, then I started to go home less and less.”
It was tight, but it worked.”
Evolution of Sound and the Animal Within
“So yeah, I was folksy, and then started writing songs with Eddie [Rivera], who’s my co-writer. And putting my guitar down. There’s one song that – the first time we worked together is called “Did I Offend You?” We’re releasing it in April. That was the first song that I wrote the beginning to – guitar part – and then he took it somewhere else, and I was like, ‘You need to play that in the beginning. Like, why don’t I just not play for this song?’ And he was like, ‘Cool.’ Then I just kinda started shaking. Literally, just started shaking when I was singing, and..,yeah, that just kind of happened. That animal.
In the past two years I’ve started writing about things that bother me. I’m angry, but it’s a joyous anger when I’m performing. It’s made me better at communicating, ’cause I’m getting that off my chest. It’s like when somebody is aggressive, and you’re like, ‘I don’t know, but, maybe talking to somebody, or kickboxing…something cathartic where you’re being able to emote, or just get shit off your chest, could help you in your day.'”
“As of the past seven or eight months, it’s Eddie and his guitar playing. I’ll have an idea. I’m always collecting, on my phone, on my notepad, or on my voice memo. Melodies and song concepts, lyric ideas, one-liners. It’s funny ’cause when we plan a writing session, we usually get coffee or get a drink, and then go out. But when we are going out and getting a drink, it’s more like, ‘Hey, let’s go write a song.’
He brings it out of me. When it was just me writing with myself…I’m a limited guitar player, because I never wanted to excel past where I am…and Eddie just totally gets me. And I don’t know terminology, bless his soul. I’ll be like, ‘Make it be like…’ and I’ll just go three words. He’s like, ‘Okay.’ I’m like, ‘Yes. Little more, like…’ I will throw a sound effect in, and he’s like, ‘Okay.’ Like a sound effect, a band and an adjective and I’m like, ‘Yes!'”
It’s A Numbers Game
“Okay, so…I’m a numbers person and a date person. We’ve already had four [shows] this year. Last year we played 56. We played three to five shows a month, and then in 2015 from May to December we played 37. I wrote them down, and dated them, so I’ve got a log. This year we played, technically, seven. I included radio performances.”
Ready for the Road?
“Oh my God, yeah, ‘cause I love traveling and I’m kind of like an Energizer bunny. I can run on little sleep. Yeah. I think I’d be perfect for touring.
Two things stand out in my mind. Just going to new places, ’cause there’s so many places I’ve never been to, and spending alone time with my band. Day in and day out. I’m so excited to just get breakfast, lunch, and dinner with them in a creative space that’s safe and ready for us.”
Doing Los Angeles…Right
“What’s so great about it, personally, is that it’s – I guess to rephrase it, ’cause where my brain is putting me is to say – when I meet somebody who’s either lived here for a good bit, or is just trying it out and contemplating about leaving, they usually have something negative to say about it. That’s why they’re not happy. And I rarely hear, ‘It wasn’t serving me, because I need this and it doesn’t have this.’ It’s like, It’s too this, they’re too that.’
I just hear, ‘You’re doing it all wrong.’
I love New York. It’s four hours from Maryland, from Baltimore. First time I went there was senior year of high school. Past five years or so I just kept going back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, having some time. I moved there before I moved here, which was not a big transition…but it wasn’t right for what I wanted. It’s like dating somebody and wanting to change them and make them work for you.
I just think what’s so great about Los Angeles is it’s what I wanted. I wanted a community. I wanted to feel safe within that community. I was hoping for a lot of role models. My sister is my role model; we’re very close in age. She’s a teacher. I’ve always been able to be talked off whatever ledge I’m on. Just with her presence I wanna be better. I just naturally look up to females. I’m really lucky there’s a lot of females around. There’s also a lot of males. It’s very fifty-fifty in my circle and in my secondary and tertiary circle. I see it all. It’s just working for me.”