Lauren Ruth Ward: An Ode To Healing

emilytreadgold #1, Features

Lauren Ruth Ward remains one of my favorite live shows I've ever seen; it feels like a cathartic release for the audience like she's expelling her own demons on stage and taking the audience along with her. Her new EP is the product of her self-reflection, an ode to an inner-work journey. We caught up with her and talked about her dynamic live show and her connection to her fans.

LRW: I've done some pretty maniacal South bys, so I'm very happy to do one solid official showcase just because it's so intense, and it'll be nice. Some people from my label will be there, and I have a great relationship with them. I'm excited to have meaningful conversations and not feel torn in a million places.

I feel like it's rare for artists to say that.

LRW: I'm not anti-label, and I can only speak for my scenario; I've not been a major, and it can be difficult to get all hearts and minds aligned. I think the big message is that instead of being anti-label, there needs to be empathy on both sides. I think people have gotten really immune to getting music for free. The new way doesn't necessarily work for everyone. I think keeping that line of communication open, how can we be innovative in our specific project, me and my label we have power to do things our way. When you're on a major label, there's less room for innovation. 

Did you see that James Blake tweet? 

LRW: Somebody sent me that, and I said out loud to myself, "This is what I've been saying," it's a topic among artists. His post was super poignant and really helpful, but alternately, again, I can only reach the people who are interested in my perspective and my perspective, meaning my writing, my poetry, and my lyrics. I do moments where I can give, and there are moments, for example, Bandcamp Friday waves their revenue share the first Friday of most months, so I tell my label I have this demo or this song, and I recorded a year before we signed can I put this on band camp no one can stream it, and they'll allow you to listen to the song before you purchase so you just have to buy it and every single penny goes to taking my band out on tour. That's the exchange. I think what people need is purpose.

I'm curious about that, too, because we're overdue for musicians getting paid, and as a listener, I'd be fine paying more to pay artists than Spotify. Are there other workarounds you've found, like Patreon? Are we moving more into that? 

LRW: I can't speak for everyone, but I had Patreon in 2020 because I had a lot of time to give those special handfuls of supporters who are interested in the nitty gritty and the minutia of all my processes, and I still have that page, and I think it's better than ever because I have a nice grasp on the tier system of how I like to share. Instagram and TikTok get the bullet points, and then Patreon is a safe space. The bullies won't try to see what you put on there. 

LRW: The workaround is not going online, and to each their own, and be like you guys, I don't make any money on Spotify, but to go in and see yourself and your artistry and ask your fans what do you want to see. Then say great this is intellectual property this Is my life so join me on these different sites for these different benefits and let people make their own decisions which ultimately empowers everyone. Compared to playing the game and trying to get people to stream your songs a billion times, no one likes to read in a caption, "Don't forget to like or share on Spotify," I think that message has gotten across. I think it loses its gravity if you keep asking people. It's not easy, but this is what works for me, and I'm paying attention to what works for me.

Can you tell me about your new EP? 

LRW: I've been doing an inner-work journey with my therapist. I know that's kind of vast, but it has inspired me. I'm driving to reach my authentic message and what I want to share, and I am conscious that there are young minds listening, minds of all ages listening, and staying in that awareness inspired me. I have a lot of songs that I've recorded and are sitting on a Google Drive ready to be released, so every now and then, I revisit them, and I'm constantly adding more, and I pick a couple that feel solid and say, "Okay it's time, it's time to talk about this topic, and it's time to talk about that topic." 

Can you tell me about your live performance? I feel like it's such a cathartic release; what goes through your head? 

LRW: Looking at people. I'm just reacting from their reaction it's like a figure eight. I had a hard time; I didn't enjoy virtual concerts when we had to do those. I kind of just felt like I was jacking off. I had to really read the comments afterward, and I was like, "Do you guys like these?" I'd close my eyes and envision the messages. That's a real thing, seeing someone with their eyes closed, with their hand on their heart, swaying, or if they're like videoing everything, I'm like, what an angel, or someone screaming every word. Whatever you want to do, I'm there for it, and I feed off of it. 

I feel like you have such a solid fanbase. How do you make that connection? 

LRW: The more honest I get with myself, the more honest music I write. I feel like messages I get from people are about my lyrics, so I think that's what keeps people resonating with my stories. It's what makes them feel safe with me. It's a mutual safety and mutual gratitude. I've never sung anyone else's lyrics, and I go into writing rooms. Depending on the person, I'll entertain it because I'm all for the experience, but it can be a great lyric. I just feel like I owe my listeners the mission statement. They were sold, which is to tell them my experience. I spend so much time responding to messages online, and I'm so grateful; they're the only thing that matters. 

Keep up with Lauren Ruth Ward on Spotify and Instagram and listen to her new EP.

Emily Treadgold

Facebook Facebook