ZZ Ward has a “Gemini brain.”
Ward needs to tour. She needs the energy, and the nomadic lifestyle of living on a tour bus and finding new restaurants and cultures.
“I need a lot of variety in my life,” she says.
Ward and her powerhouse vocals are getting that on her “Stardust Tour.” As part of the jaunt, she’ll play Innings Festival on Saturday, February 29.
“I’m going to play some new songs that I haven’t played out before,” she says. “I love to perform. It’s a really great way to connect with people and my fans who are familiar with my music.”
The tour follows the release of her latest singles “Break Her Heart” and “Sex & Stardust.”
“It’s about being so deep under someone’s spell you do things you didn’t think you were capable of,” Ward says of “Sex & Stardust.”
“It’s about a time in my life when I was feeling that way. It’s a very descriptive song. It’s about being totally mesmerized by somebody. We did a music video for that that’s very inspired by Quentin Tarantino. Feeling that way has its pros and cons for sure.”
“Break Her Heart” is a 360, telling an honest story of a broken-hearted woman who wishes ill will on her boyfriend who cheated on her.
“The music video for that one is really exciting for me,” Ward says. “The songs are very emotional and important to me. They represent different chapters of my life.”
Her emotional songs have touched her fans as well, and she enjoys hearing the stories they share.
“I love hearing how my songs affected them and their lives,” Ward says “I love when they say this is when they met their partner, or this is the first concert they went to with a friend. With the deeper stuff, they say the songs helped them get through something. I love that. That’s not necessarily why I set out to write these songs. I write them for myself as therapy.”
And it works.
“It always has, honestly, since I was a kid,” she says. “I was writing songs when I was like 13 and I thought, ‘This feels really good.’ That was the moment I discovered I could create something. Everybody’s a different type of person. I love creating art. That’s my jam. I don’t work very well settling into something that’s uniform. I like the challenge of creating something out of nothing.”
Videos are important to Ward, even though few outlets remain for them.
“I remember six years ago, when I first started putting out music professionally,” she says.
“I wondered if they would be on MTV or VH1. That’s not really a thing now, but I can show these videos on social media platforms and streaming services. It’s a great way to dive into the music and create a visual for who’s producing it.”
She recalls the golden age of video with family friend Mark Goodman, a former MTV VJ who now DJs on SiriusXM.
“He used to be friends with my parents when they were kids,” Ward says with a laugh. “He’s fabulous at interviewing. I was watching those ’80s specials on CNN that you’ve probably seen. Mark was interviewing David Bowie and I thought, ‘Look at Mark. He’s so young in this video.’ When I go to New York, Mark interviews me. He’s had an incredible career. He’s a legend.”
Tempe Beach Park & Arts Park, 80 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe, inningsfestival.com, all day Saturday, February 29, to Sunday, March 1, tickets start at $99.
Saturday, February 29
Dave Matthews Band, Portugal. The Man, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Dr. Dog, Whiskey Myers, ZZ Ward, Strand of Oaks, Boy Named Banjo
Sunday, March 1
Death Cab for Cutie, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, O.A.R., The Struts, Big Head Todd & The Monsters, Nikki Lane, Pedro the Lion, Wilderado