For the past decade, ZZ Ward played the major-label game, and she was quite good at it. The blues/hip-hop/R&B singer/songwriter did all the big festivals, collaborated with everyone from Kendrick Lamar to Gary Clark Jr., performed on Dancing With The Stars and Good Morning America and saw her records land on Billboard charts ranging from blues and AAA to alternative and rock. Hell, even we declared her second album to be Essential New Music.
But Ward is a hands-on artist who wants to do things her way, so she decided that for album number three, she was going it on her own—with a little help from her tight-knit family, of course. The 14-track Dirty Shine (out tomorrow) marks the first release on her new label of the same name, which she founded with husband Evan Kidd Bogart (a Grammy-winning songwriter whose work has been recorded by the likes of Beyoncé, Madonna, Donna Summer and Lizzo). Ward has collaborated with filmmaker brother Adam William Ward (Parole Officers, Bad Advice) on a series of mini-movies for songs from Dirty Shine. Brother Charlie took the publicity photos for the album. And, not to be outdone by the men in her life, ZZ has expanded her new indie brand to include signature hats she handcrafts, which are available for purchase on her website.
But while all of that is impressive, Ward’s songs remain her first priority. “Music is my safe space to express myself with no boundaries or limitations,” she says. “Dirty Shine is a collection of songs that represent where I’m at creatively and emotionally. I hope these songs empower my fans like they’ve empowered me.”
Given Ward’s rabid fanbase and her frequent interaction with them, there’s no doubt Dirty Shine will do just that, on an even more personal level than before. “Dirty Shine is my first independent album,” she says. “I couldn’t be more excited to share it with the world!”
The same goes for us. MAGNET is proud to premiere Dirty Shine in its entirety today. Check it—and the official album trailer—out below.