Thanks to a buzzed-about EP ("Criminal") and mixtape ("Eleven Roses"), ZZ Ward can definitely feel momentum building as she approaches the Oct. 16 release of her first full-length album, "Til the Casket Drops." But she's also trying to enjoy the moment before things -- she hopes -- really take off.
"I think you only have your first record once," says the Pennsylvania-born Ward, 24, who was raised in Roseburg, Ore., and moved to Los Angeles not long after graduating from high school. "I mean, it's very exciting going from someone that no one knows to having fans in cities I've never been to before.
"So I'm having fun watching it build, but I'll never have these experiences again, all the shows I'm playing and making new fans, so I'm trying to appreciate that, too."
Ward knows that "Til the Casket Drops" -- which appears on the "Criminal" EP and was used to help promote the ABC Family series "Pretty Little Liars" -- is not the most optimistic or inviting title for a song or an album. But she insists that it's a metaphor for a much more positive message.
"This song is about going to war for someone you love," Ward explains. "My album is about the ups and downs of a relationship, the fights you have to through, sometimes to get great love.
"It's one of the first songs I wrote, and it really embraced who I wanted to be as an artist and the sounds that feel natural to me. So that's really one of the reasons I call the album 'Til the Casket Drops`."
ZZ Ward and Zach Heckendorf perform Saturday, Sept. 8, at the Shelter, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10. Call 313-961-6358 or visit www.livenation.com.
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