With a voice that cuts to the soul of matters, ZZ Ward seems like everything you’d want from a blooming female songstress. Gritty, confident and wounded, Ward hails from Eugene, but sounds like an old blueshand from the Mississippi Delta.
Already have given us a taste of “Better Off Dead,” a rendition of Tyler, The Creator’s “Yonkers,” the singer-songwriter debuted her full mixtape this week, an experimental arrival on to the scene that mashes sampled beats with pure soul. With four mixes on deck, including a beautifully reworked rip of Freddie Gibb’s “Oil Money” (see: “Criminal”), Eleven Roses borrows the best from hip hop’s up-and-comers, paving the way for a rising minidiva. Other mixes include “Morphine,” which borrows from Wiz Khalifa’s “Rooftops,” and “OVERdue,” a Childish Gambino collaboration of sorts.
Where Ward really soars, however, is in removing the back hip-hop beats. Singing lonely with only a backing acoustic guitar on tracks like “Til The Casket Drops,” we really start to understand how powerful her naked voice really is, without the affectations or gimmicks. And sometimes that’s how music should be. Just a woman, her guitar and one mesmerizing voice with everything on the line.
Listen to and download the whole mixtape, Eleven Roses, below.