Power can be granted or outright claimed. For Zsuzsanna Eva Ward, better known as ZZ Ward, it’s inherent, showcased through powerhouse vocals and direct command over emotional subject matter. With the experience of two full-lengths, Til The Casket Drops (2012) and The Storm (2017) at the ready, Ward is back but this time taking the songs as they come and giving each the full treatment.
Instead of piecing tracks together as one would if the goal was the eventual development of an album, Ward has chosen a slow burn, releasing untethered songs over the last 10 months. The first, “Sex and Stardust” is packed with swagger, a month later appeared a classic torched-romance anthem “Break Her Heart.” After that came the prophetic “The Dark,” hitting right as touring ended at the start of the pandemic. “When I wrote ‘The Dark’ I felt alone, betrayed and uncertain of my future. I knew I had to pick myself up and keep going but I was scared. Within a matter of days, our lives have been turned upside down by the global pandemic. ‘The Dark’ is about facing the unknown, leaving fear behind and living in hope,” Ward says.
Now we have “Giant,” an uprising in song. Ward remarks, “This song came from feeling so close to someone that their pain felt like mine, watching them get hurt over and over felt so real. This is a reminder for my friend and to anyone who needs to hear it, that you can always find the Giant inside when you feel small.”
Regarding the collection, “These new songs got me through some very personal and challenging situations in my life by allowing me to reach a place of empowerment. At first, these experiences of heartbreak, betrayal and devastation felt very close to me, only to realize in retrospect that the root of these emotions went much deeper than I originally understood. Whether it was an ex-lover that I never felt good enough for or knowing I had to find the giant inside of myself to overcome feelings of self-doubt, writing these songs helped me get to a place of acceptance. Some of the deeper themes throughout these songs are questioning social and gender norms and how those unwritten and traditional expectations have affected and continue to affect me in my own life,” Ward explains.
Ward’s power is on display on airwaves virtually everywhere, with “Giant” having a strong start at Lightning 100, ACL Radio, KTBG, KMTN, KMMS, and WCNR with new tour dates hopefully in the works for next year.
Photo by Alexa King