Lauren Ruth Ward is making a name for herself in the music industry by spreading a message of self-love, empowerment and queer inclusivity. She is a beam of light for her fans in their times of darkness, and a friend they can relate to when they feel misunderstood. We sat down with her to learn a little more about her process as an artist and how it aligns with her values as a person.
As a creator, Lauren doesn’t think of her art as being explicitly a work of activism for the queer community. By putting pen to paper to make sense of her own experiences as a queer woman, she has become a voice of truth and guidance for her fans. She says, “I just innately kind of normalize the abnormal. I’m just doing what all the artists that sing from their heart are doing.” And yet, Ward is aware of her position as a musician with a significant, and ever-growing, following.
“When you have a following it is a privilege to be able to have a platform, and to have people who are willing to listen to you, just by being me, which isn’t the average lady.”
Since she decided to pursue music full-time, Lauren has found her method of creative flow in a notoriously pressuring and bureaucratic industry, in tandem with the guidance of her romantic partner, LP. But it wasn’t always easy. Ward had a rocky start having to deal with music industry leaders who didn’t understand her needs as an artist or her instincts as a creator. Lauren explains to us the difficulty of trying to find her personal sound and cultivate herself into a mature artist while being pulled in multiple directions by agents of the industry.
One of the issues she faced early on was the superiority complex of a fellow musician she worked with, who she compares to “that friend” who helps you through your problems by continuously telling you what to do. Ward found that the guidance of her early collaborators conflicted with what she knew, intuitively, to be right for her. She tells us, “if I were to say, ‘It doesn’t really feel right when I wrote with this person. I don’t really want to do this again,’ they would tell me, ‘Lauren you’re being too judgmental. Give it another chance.’” She goes on to explain, “I know how I feel, and that didn’t seem good enough. In art, unless you have something going for you then you aren’t anybody yet and you can’t fight for yourself. It’s really frustrating. And it’s such a hard process.”
In the end, Lauren decided it was in her best interest to leave her label and pursue music in the way she knew how to: through her personal experience and in collaboration with her community. Now, as an established artist with a firm idea of her sound, Ward has been able to explore a new side of her music, focusing on more light-hearted subjects as sources of inspiration. “When times are good my writing tends to be a little more sarcastic and my humor pops up,” she specifies.
Over the years, Ward has managed to create a lasting and powerful connection to her fans, who often come up to her at shows or reach out online to talk about their similar experiences. Lauren tells us the story of one fan she met after one of her shows at SXSW. After seeing the young woman sing along with her throughout the set and cry to the lyrics being sung, Lauren approached her. She remembers, “she told me what she was going through with sexual identity —coming to terms with her sexual identity and realizing her sexual suppression. We shared laughter and I cried a little bit and it was just very touching.”
Lauren shows us how music can be healing for not only the creator but also the consumer. The impact art and music can have on a community is larger than ourselves. Although she may not have set out to be, she has truly become an inspiration and a role model to many in the queer and music communities.
Find out when and where to see Lauren Ruth Ward perform live on her website: Click Here.