ZZ Ward

You Need to Know: Rap's Favorite Blues Singer, ZZ Ward

Why is a girl from Oregon one of the only pop singers to keep the blues alive? Don't ask questions, just listen
LeAnn Mueller

ZZ Ward is a white girl from Oregon, but you would never guess it from the sound of her voice. The singer-songwriter has a penchant for the blues, and she's already got a few glowing endorsements from some pretty heavy hitters. 

For her debut album, she called upon a group of eclectic songwriters including OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder, A Tribe Called Quest's Ali Shaheed Muhammed and Fitz of Fitz and the Tantrums, to name a few. The result is ZZ's 2012 release, Till The Casket Drops, which, all-in, sounds like a mix between Adele, Cee Lo, Etta James and a shot of whiskey.

Before that, Ward released her Eleven Roses mixtape earlier this year where she offered reinterpretations of songs from unlikely artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Freddie Gibbs, Childish Gambino and Tyler, the Creator. Kendrick Lamar was so pumped with ZZ's mixtape that he agreed to jump on her album on the track "Cryin' Wolf" while Gibbs helped her out with "Criminal." Imagine what the rest of her phone contact list looks like.

ZZ Ward is on tour in the U.S. through December 12. Check out her Kendrick Lamar collabo, "Cryin' Wolf," below.

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