Once a hair stylist in Baltimore, singer Lauren Ruth Ward is now hailed as a rising vocal powerhouse in the music scene. With her first album, “Well Hell,” freshly released and a reputation for powerful live shows, Ward is on a roll.
Her brand of bluesy, 70s-style rock has been compared to famous artists like Janis Joplin and Florence Welch. Ward will play a special hometown show at Baltimore’s Ottobar on April 28. This week, she answered some questions about her career, album and more.
What song from your debut album would you most encourage new listeners to hear?
Oooh, that’s a hard one. I guess, “Sideways.” It’s energetic like most of our songs, [and] the lyrics are relatable — getting lost while finding your way in a new city, for me, LA. Also, it’s one of my favorite music videos. I had a blast creating it with all my buddies. My best bud Tess O’Connor shot, produced and co-directed it. She’s one of my favorite humans to work with. Lastly, I love India’s cowbell.
Have you listened to “Well Hell” on vinyl? Do you think it sounds better?
Of course I have! [laughs]. As soon as Rainbow Records sent me my test presses, Eddie came over and we sat criss-cross-applesauce in front of my player and let her spin. I wouldn’t say one is better than the other. Vinyl definitely ads a vibe, a warm warble. CD/mp3 is very clean, also super enjoyable.
Was there a moment when you doubted that you would make it to this point in your career?
I am still in a baby band in the beginning phases of my career. I don’t manifest an exact end goal. I hate disappointing myself. When I was younger, I had very specific goals and if I didn’t achieve them perfectly, I would have a hard time carrying on. I don’t do that anymore. Not only because the stress isn’t worth it, but because that’s not what life is about. Everything is always shifting. My current approach is to keep the ideas coming, stay organized and positive, follow through and enjoy myself. What comes out of it is what comes out of it, regardless if I stress or not.
Do you have any favorite artists from Baltimore at the moment?
Beach House for [life].
When was the last time you played in Baltimore? Does playing a show in your hometown feel different than in other cities?
We played Ottobar June 1, 2017. I love playing shows in my hometown. I have so many sweet people that come out to support this new journey. It’s very inspiring and emotional. I am extremely lucky to feel as loved as I do.
Is there a venue you have always dreamed of playing?
The Red Rock Amphitheater in Colorado. Such an incredible creation.
Do you have any music-related goals you’d like to accomplish this summer?
I can’t wait to play LA Pride on June 9! I would LOVE to play Desert Daze Festival this October. It’s a three day psych-rock fest in Joshua Tree. I went with my lady last year for the first time. It is the perfect size with such magical energy. Finger crossed!