Spotlight: ZZ Ward

ZZ Ward didn’t have to look far for inspiration on her second full-length album, 2017’s The Storm (June 30). Equally evocative of blues grit and hip-hop bounce, the Los Angeles-based vocal powerhouse and multi-instrumentalist leapt forward by taking a deeper look at some of her earliest inspirations – including Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Johnson, and Vera Ward Hall and Big Mama Thornton. "For me, this album wasn’t really about experimenting," Ward says. "It was more about simplicity, honing in on what I love about music and what makes me who I am as an artist." This album is the follow-up to 2012’s full-length debut Til The Casket Drops, which featured the hit "Put The Gun Down." The song generated 7.4 million-plus Spotify streams and held strong in the Top 10 at AAA radio for 10 weeks. For The Storm, Ward reteamed with previous collaborators such as Blended Babies (Chance the Rapper, Kid Cudi), Neff-U (Eminem, Dr. Dre), Ludwig Goransson (Childish Gambino, Haim), and Michael Fitzpatrick of Fitz & The Tantrums in addition to Warren "Oak" Felder of Pop & Oak (Kehlani, Alicia Keys, Alessia Cara) for the first time. The first song Ward released in front of the record was "The Deep" (featuring Joey Purp), which, as Ward describes, "is about feeling trapped in a relationship that I knew was no good for me." Other highlights on the album include the first single "Help Me Mama," "Cannonball" (featuring recent GRAMMY-winning blues artist Fantastic Negrito), "Domino" featuring Fitzpatrick and “Ride” featuring Gary Clark Jr.  “Ride” is the first song Ward wrote specifically for a feature film (Disney*Pixar’s Cars 3.)  Currently touring in support of The Storm, the GRAMMY Museum welcomes ZZ Ward to the Clive Davis Theater for an intimate conversation on her new album, moderated by Museum Executive Director Scott Goldman. The Q&A will be followed by a performance.