Baltimore-bred Lauren Ruth Ward hung up her scissors and blow dryer back in 2015 and headed for L.A., to follow her dream. Lucky for us, that dream was a career in music.
Following her 2016 self-titled EP, Ward released the full-length ‘Well, Hell” to rave reviews in 2018. With her folky, bluesy, voice and bitingly honest lyrics, Lauren reminds the listener of a rock/folk hybrid. Think Janis Joplin meets Joan Baez, but better.
In anticipation of her Sacramento performance on January 27th at Ace of Spades, where she’ll open for her wife, LP, I got the chance to ask Lauren to answer a few questions for me. Take a moment and get to know Lauren Ruth Ward.
MNPR: How would you classify yourself – singer, songwriter, entertainer? Why?
LRW: I’m an artist. I share myself through song, dance and painting.
MNPR: Do you get more pleasure from creating music or performing it?
LRW: I get pleasure from both. They’re both parts of the processes of self expression. Writing is more for me, it’s cathartic and truly makes me sane. Performing is more for others (but also for me). I am most happy when someone tells me I’ve made them feel any feeling after watching me perform. It brings purpose to my life.
MNPR: What can’t you live without?
LRW: Hate to be redundant, but self expression in all forms are what I can’t live without. I think I’m hyperactive, I favor doing something tactile vs. reading or watching something on a screen. I usually have a thought in my head that I like to share with whoever is around. I enjoy learning about mine and others human experiences so self expression allows me to better understand others and myself.
MNPR: For our readers not yet familiar with your music, can you explain your “sound”?
LRW: I like to play with all the colors in my voice. I grew up listening to old rock and disco/old pop so I like to do runs, big vibrato belts, and I’ve been told there’s some country bits in my voice I attribute to my Step-mom turning me onto country music when I was a kid. I feel a allover with my vocal style (and I like that). Eduardo favors 60’s and 70’s guitar tones and likes to layer those + sometimes he add dreamy synths in the background which makes some of our tunes a bit psych rock. I think we are just our version of rock.
MNPR: You seem so at home when you’re performing. Do you ever suffer from stage fright before a show?
LRW: I always get nervous before I perform. The bigger the crowd, the more nervous I get. I was the most nervous playing in France and Italy in April 2017 opening for LP. It was just Ed and I and one show it was just me. There were 2k to 4k people at those shows. I thought I as going to vomit. But it goes away after the second to third song, especially when the crowd is stoked.
MNPR: So far, what point in your career are you most proud of?
LRW: I am proud of it all. I love my band and my team and I’m so lucky to have fans who’re wanting to listen to my feelings and take from them. That is a gift. Sounds so cheesy. My biggest frustration is being misunderstood and though there are a couple people who trickle in every week or so on socials leaving hateful messages bc they’re not taking the time to understand I am doing what I am doing with good intensions, there are wayyy more people who’re there to understand and generally be there for me. I am most proud of having that in my life. I guess thankful is a better word for that feeling.