Behind the Music: Lauren Ruth Ward on the Collaborative Village that Fuels Her Artistry BC Exclusive: Interview+Photos of Lauren Ruth Ward at Make Out Music 10/20/23
LOS ANGELES, CA- Lauren Ruth Ward, the magnetic force of music that she is, recently graced the stage at Make Out Music, where she unveiled a treasure trove of new tracks that left the audience in awe. Accompanied by her stellar band featuring Lightfoot on guitar, Cori on bass, and Jessica Goodwin on drums, Lauren Ruth Ward hosted a “SELF LOVE” (her latest single) release show party that reminded us why her absence had us pining for her return.
The evening was an exhilarating showcase of eight exceptional new songs, with standout tracks like “plz don’t contact me” leaving an indelible mark. Lauren also treated the audience to four beloved classics, including a memorable encore featuring Emma Cole lending her vocal prowess on “Valhalla”. But it wasn’t just Lauren’s captivating vocals and electrifying performance that stole the show; her dynamic stage presence, including a cheerleading toss!
What truly sets Lauren Ruth Ward apart, however, is her ability to connect with her audience on a profound level. She possesses the rare gift of working a room with absolute grace and authenticity. She exudes strength and independence on the surface, yet beneath it all lies a warm-hearted and genuine soul. It’s no surprise that Lauren Ruth Ward is cherished by fans and fellow musicians alike. Her magnetic charisma and unapologetic authenticity make her an icon in the making, and her recent performance at Make Out Music was nothing short of extraordinary, reaffirming our deep affection for this remarkable rock star.
Melissa Strype, a burgeoning talent in the world of musical comedy, graced the stage as the opening act at a recent show I had the pleasure of attending. With her unique and provocative performance, Melissa delved into the realm of sexual education with a musical twist that left the audience in stitches. In an era where information is often scarce, Melissa fearlessly tackled a plethora of topics surrounding the enigmatic world of the vagina, from the intricacies of discharge to the nuances of pubic and side hair, while also taking humorous aim at the questionable array of freshening products available and, of course, the ever-elusive queefs.
As a devoted aficionado of all things vagina-related, I can confidently affirm that Melissa Strype’s exploration of this subject matter was nothing short of enlightening and side-splittingly hilarious. Her ability to blend education and humor in her performance truly set her apart, making for an unforgettable opening act that set the tone for an incredible evening of entertainment.
Although specific details about Melissa Strype may be limited, it’s worth noting that she has been gaining recognition in the comedy circuit for her unique brand of musical comedy. Her willingness to tackle taboo subjects with wit and charm has garnered her a growing fanbase, and her performances are not to be missed for those seeking a fresh perspective on the world of comedy and sexual education. Keep an eye out for Melissa Strype; she’s undoubtedly a rising star in the comedy scene.
I was able to catch up with Lauren following her Make Out Music show, and she graciously gave me some time to answer some burgeoning questions I had.
BLURRED CULTRE: I noticed on some of your new merch (your hats) you’ve got the phrase, “Lauren Ruth Ward Is A Band” on it. Is there something to that, or am I just reading into it too much?
LAUREN RUTH WARD: It’s my continuous attempt to remind listeners that what you hear or see is a product of a whole village of folks. In my mind, “band” goes beyond the incredible artists that play with me on stage. It also includes my label (VERO UK), visual creators (Cher Russo), wardrobe (Gigi King), and more. Additionally, I tried for years not to “love hard,” but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized two things: 1.) you cannot change what is natural, and 2.) I no longer want to change that part of me because it is the very reason why my relationships are so fulfilling. It can be challenging to navigate this feeling when you’re deeply intertwined with the wrong people for you. So, my workaround has been to be more mindful of who I let into the LRW world instead of leaving it up to ~the universe~. My hard-loving self wants the world to know that “Lauren Ruth Ward is a village.”
Loved hearing the new music, and congrats on the official release of “Self Love”. Can you tell us about the inspiration behind your new music? I was really just vibing the whole night, so I wasn’t necessarily paying attention to all of the lyrics, so I wanted to ask, “Were there any partricular themes or experiences influenced the new songs?
A three-year period of deep introspection pulled these new lyrics out of me. I dedicated time to journaling about past relationships, reflecting on the choices i made by holding space for uncomfortable self-accountability. i’ve learned that i am capable of deciphering short term chemistry from long term compatibility. it’s a skill i’ve only started to hone and a kind freedom that has reflected so much clarity. i am grateful to my inner work teacher, Diana Zaheer, and one of her fellow healers, Vajra Matusow, who teach that “when you place yourself or others on a pedestal, it only creates more layers of work for yourself. We are all here simply with the life force.”
Were there any specific challenges or breakthrough moments you experienced while preparing and performing this new material?
I had a breakthrough with my band. It has been extremely difficult for me to find a long-term team. Performing is a calling of mine, tours / shows are a gift. Feeling stressed about finding musicians every time a performance opportunity is gifted has been disheartening. I am not a digital artist, and I intend to keep it that way. I cherish human connection and will always jump at the opportunity to create music together on stage, and off. During rehearsals, there were moments when I cried because Jessica Goodwin (drums), Cori Robbins (bass), and Lightfoot (guitar) are all such incredibly brilliant, present, and talented artists who want to be a part of what I am creating. I am immensely grateful for this stroke of luck.
There are definitely some older songs that you perform that always get the adrenaline boiling in me. When performing the new songs, were/are there any in particular that surprisingly get you going more than you expect and if so, why?
“Plz Never Contact Me Again.” The title was taken from a text I received from a (dramatic) short term flame. This song currently fuels my adrenaline. Composition written by Louie Diller (Holy Child), whom I met the week I moved to LA in 2015. It’s our first of many songs. We work so well together, I’m glad we finally found the time. In terms of production, he drew inspiration from The Mars Volta. Vocally, I was having an open channel day. It usually takes me a couple months of listening back to know I’d like to deliver each line but this song’s attitude came as quick as the lyrics did. There’s a mix of fear, pushback, screams, and a touch of Morrison-esque spoken word in there. Channel doing channel things.
You finished up your trio of gigs (LA, NY and your hometown Baltimore. What’s next? World domination next year?
World domination sounds like a lot of fun, haha! But right now, I have three main focuses: 1.) Sharpening my lyrics, intentions, visuals, and supporter incentives with this next batch of releases. Because I wrote them all closely together and during the same emotional season, it’s no surprise that they tell one story. This will be my first thematic release, so I’m taking extra care of it. 2.) Getting a Latin American booking agent. 👋🏽 Every day, I am blessed with the sweetest messages from new supporters in South America and Mexico. It has been a struggle to secure representation based solely on fan accounts (an approach that worked for me years ago with my European / UK agent). Recently, I went to Mexico City for my birthday and potential 2024 show curating, where I met my Mexico Fan Club (shout out to Karly, Tanny, and Pricilla). I am fueled by their love, and I won’t stop cold emailing until my Latin fairy godmother agent gives me a chance. 3.) Preparing for my next headlining European/UK tour, which includes my first festival circuit. I am beyond excited and grateful to my agent Gijs for all his hard work. To prepare for these five-week tours, I double up on hot yoga (for stamina), get 10 hours of sober sleep (for a clear head), sing my set at full intensity, followed by bouts of vocal rest (meditation). Touring is not a joke. It’s not just about physical stamina. The no alcohol, no drugs thing isn’t a deprivation for me; it’s the not talking that I need to mentally prepare for. Aside from warm-ups, signing, and speaking to who’s in charge (as mt tour manager), I am silent during my tours. Going from talking 70% of your days to not talking 90% for a month or more is a real mindf***er, but it works. It allows me to give my best vocal performance to every crowd, not just the ones whose city falls after an off day. I have a joke…
Me: Hey! Can you play drums?
Me: Oh, hmm. Can you read lips?