On her recent debut album, Well, Hell, Lauren Ruth Ward came across as an artist unafraid of being hard to define. One minute dabbling in sweet, echo-drenched Americana like Did I Offend You, next turning up the amps and distortion for the riotous blues-punk defiance of Blue Collar Sex Kitten. Leaving the question, just who is Lauren Ruth Ward, the confident, easy going Janis Joplin-like hippy or the awkward Elliot Smith obsessed teenager? The loved up pop star or the unconventional rebel? The truth of course would be a little bit of all of them and a whole lot more besides, all of which pours into an intriguing debut record, which surely has something for everyone to enjoy.
Today Lauren has taken some time out ahead of a hugely busy SXSW schedule to answer our questions, taking in her double life as a hairdresser, why she makes music and the influence of watching between three and seven shows a week.
FTR: Who is Lauren Ruth Ward?
A Scorpio, pansexual, artist, human.
FTR: You recently released your debut album, Well Hell, what can you tell us about recording the album?
It was the first time I had ever recorded an album. Everything went smoothly. I learned sonically and bonded with my amazing band (Liv, India and Eduardo). We have already started to record album # 2.
FTR: You’ve spoke about the music you make having four modes, what do you mean by that?
No. The music I make has limitless amounts of modes. The album we just put out (could) have 4 modes. Heaven (DidI Offend You?), Hell (Blue Collar Se Kitten, Well Hell), Folk (Travel Man, Those Letters), Americana (Make Love To Myself, Sheet Stains). Means : a track for everyone.
FTR: You started your career as a hairdresser, what made you swap that for a guitar?
I never swapped. I still am a barber. I currently do more music than hair whereas I use to do more hair than music. No need to choose one over the other.
FTR: You grew up in Baltimore, but are now based out of LA. Which city do you think it’s easier to be a musician in?
It’s “easy” to be a musician in any city. Just be.
FTR: Why do you make music?
It’s cathartic. Helps me understand myself and the world around me.
FTR: Who are your major influences? What were you listening to when you recorded Well Hell?
Music from the 60s and 70s. American classic rock as well as motown and disco. I also enjoy music from those eras from different countries. I wasn’t listening to anything in particular wheel making the album. I was going out a lot around LA and seeing local bands. I see about 3-7 shows a week (still).
FTR: What are your aspirations for this record? Do you see music as a viable career?
If my words inspire others, I have won.
FTR: What can people expect from your live show?
We love to give and take energy from the audience. They fuel us, we give it back.
FTR: What’s next for Lauren Ruth Ward?
We are getting a lot of love from SXSW. We have our first official showcases this year. We also have an east coast tour in April, west coast tour in May and plans for a Europe/UK tour in September. Feeling very lucky for this moment.