On tour in Sacramento

Lauren Ruth Ward: The Old Soul of Valhalla

Have you ever wished you were born in a different time? A different era?

When I was a kid, (I won’t lie to you, even sometimes to this day) I used to dream about being around during the 60s. The times were tumultuous of course, and as a Latina woman it wouldn’t have been the most conducive environment to an easy life. But man, I was OBSESSED with the music that came out of the 60s. The lush tones, the psychedelic influences born of shroom addled brains and acid induced bursts of creativity. Moreover, it was the deeply underlying message to all of it.

The kids aren’t alright. We need more love.

Now, in 2019, a lot of those same messages are permeating the cultural landscape we live in, and it’s seeping into the melodies, lyrics, and mindsets of many of the musicians currently creating the soundtrack of an era. Lauren Ruth Ward is one of those artists poised on the precipice of our cultural shift. Her powerhouse vocals and seemingly in touch spirit are the perfect combination to translate the repeat of history we are currently living in. She has the right amount of bad-assery in her veins, swag in her step, and sumptuous soul in her voice, to bring just the right balance of beauty and pain into her music.

Needless to say, I am excited for when she drops a new album. Until then, I sat down to talk with LRW about her latest album, her hustle, and what she had to unlearn from 2018.


Resident Stonerette: First off thank you so much for taking the time to talk! I know how hectic tour life can be. So we are barely two weeks into the new year and you are already out on the tour grind. How is the tour treating you so far?
Lauren Ruth Ward: First leg in Australia is for rehearsals and promo for Divinyls tour Feb / March and went super smoothly. I love singing these songs and Mark McEntee is a legend. The hired bassist and drummer (Jay and Malcom) are my two new bffs. Can’t complain!

RS: I might be aging myself here, but for me, your music and more importantly your hustle, remind me a lot of like… a new wave, old soul Bruce Springsteen, like in the sense of how grounded you are and how you stay connected to the fans and the purpose of the music. How difficult is it to stay so connected in an today’s modern music industry?
LRW: That’s a huge compliment, thank you for noticing my hustle. The only moments I’ve had to struggle to stay connected to my art were times when I wasn’t seeing eye to eye with my label. They weren’t trying to be malicious, we just weren’t on the same page at times on big topics like who I should be recording with and when I can release new music. When I feel like my opinion isn’t being taken into consideration, I feel defeated which effects my productivity thus making me loose my stability in knowing “what the hell am I working towards”?



Pause.

What the hell am I working towards? How many of us have had to stop and ask ourselves that same question as we traversed our daily lives? This sentence, although referencing a specific situation with her music label, seems highly indicative of what I had mentioned earlier. Every adult throughout the course of modern times, at some point in the life if not multiple, has stopped and asked themselves that question. What the hell am I working towards?

The difference is that where maybe 20, 30, 50 years ago, the answer to that might have been “a house, a family, you know the American dream”, we are at a point now where we know a bit better. There isn’t much of an American dream anymore to speak of, the curtain fell and Oz was revealed, and lets face it — I don’t think we are in Kansas anymore. The younger the generation you talk to, the more you realize that the bubble burst.

The kids aren’t alright.
Unpause


Of course, that answer made me go off on a tangent. I had been thinking about what was the one question I wanted to ask every artist I spoke to this year, whether they be local, national, or worldwide. Everyone of us comes from a different place or a different moment in time, so we all have different experiences to share, right? How do I learn from each of them?

So that (and the delicious Mimosa strain I was smoking) got me thinking. One of the biggest lessons that I LEARNED from 2018? Were all the things that I inevitably had to UNLEARN. All the preconceived notions that I had to let go of. All the resentments that I held on to. I had to unlearn the habits that allowed that negative shit to hold on to me so tightly. My biggest learning process has been unlearning.

RS: What was the biggest thing you had to UNLEARN in 2018? We’re always talking about what we learned, or what we know — but what was something that was detrimental to you that you had to unlearn and let go of?
LRW: Regardless of how cautious or pragmatic I can be, I can’t always dodge making a mistake. It’s impossible to never make mistakes.

RS: Yeah that is definitely a life lesson. What was the catalyst that caused you to realize that you needed to unlearn it in the first place?
LRW: After making a mistake, realizing I did my best to analyze the situation beforehand BUT there are just some things you can’t know until you go for it. Basically, I’m sad I’m not a mind reading, fortune teller lol.

RS: One of my greatest regrets in life is not being a mind reading fortune teller, so I FEEL that. Now that we are hitting the ground running on 2019, if you had to pick a motto for the year you are about to embark upon, what would it be?
LRW: I don’t think this is a motto.. But checking in with my people is something that has proven to be the best thing for my life / art. I say it like that because my life and my art one in the same. Communication is what allows me to feel grounded.


Pause.

Check in. Checking in with folks is a theme I heard running rampant last year. Social media, or at least the social media sphere of folks that surround me, were espousing how important it is for folks to check in. It felt like every time we turned on the news last year there was news of another suicide — be it someone’s child being bullied at school, be it someone in the spotlight who suffered from mental illness, or any other reason of the myriad of instances you can choose from. There was always something. There was always someone. It hurt each time. Collectively. Singularly. It felt like all of us ended up effected by it. It rippled.

AKA
Love.
We need more love.

Unpause.


RS: When can we look forward to new music from you?
LRW: “Valhalla” track and music video came out on January 18th.

Valhalla. The mythical hall ruled over by Odin. A place of glory, honor and happiness, reserved for the toughest warriors who are lost in battle. Sounds intense, but the reality is that we are all fighting a battle of some kind. Only the strongest, bravest, and boldest end up in Valhalla. It is an honor to end your days there, as your spirit will rest knowing you fought your hardest for what you believed in.

Hmm… Maybe the kids are gonna be alright after all.

There are a lot of things that can be said about LRW. I will say this though. Make sure to take your ass out and see her live when you get a chance. She basically puts every ounce of heart and soul she has that night, and leaves it out on the stage for us. Her blood, sweat, tears, energy, and love all flows through her vocal chords, and settles like a fairy dust for the rest of us to bask in the glow.

Go glow, boo.

For my Sacramento brethren, LRW will be live at Ace of Spades on Jan 27th acting as support for LP. Ticket are still available on www.aceofspadessac.com

Lauren Ruth Ward’s latest album, “Well, Hell” is out on all streaming platforms now. The Spotify stream link is below.

Until then, you know where to find me:
IG — @thelivstyler
FB — facebook.com/thelivstyler

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Olivia Monahan

January 23rd, 2019

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