[Premiere] Lauren Ruth Ward Is a “Blue Collar Sex Kitten”
Lauren Ruth Ward’s voice hits you like a wrecking ball, which explains why people frequently compare her to Janis Joplin.
When the LA-based singer sat down to start writing her new song, “Blue Collar Sex Kitten,” she realized she had a lot on her mind she’d kept pent up about herself and being gay.
So she put it all into her song and the rest is cathartic history.
Listen to the song and check out our Q&A with Lauren Ruth Ward below.
Obviously it’s your name, but how did you decide to go use your full name as your stage name?
Honestly, I started out solo. I had plans of finding a band and dreams of it becoming what it is right now, but there was so many Lauren Wards because it’s super common. So, just keeping my middle name — that set it apart. And then, when we became the band we thought about changing the band to just “Ward.” [But] we had a trademark guy look it up and M. Ward basically owns like all Ward everything. So, that wasn’t going to be a good name change.
Who do you get compared to the most musically?
You know what’s funny, I’ve gotten this probably a handful, maybe six times, people say I’m like a Janis Joplin [and] Dolly Parton. I would only tell you if you ask me that question because I hold both of those names very highly, but I thought that was cool. People share a lot of different stuff. I get like… my fingers do this weird, creepy thing and someone last night said that I had like Joe Cocker hands and he said he meant that really nicely and I was like ok.
Are there any topics that you would consider off limits in your songwriting?
No, I mean not yet. I don’t know, I guess because… I don’t know… no. Nah, I’m a pretty open book.
What’s your songwriting process like?
I’m always collecting like one liners, whether it would become a concept or title or a phrase. I’m always writing things down. I would say that’s number one — it’s a key concept that kind of writes its own story once I get in a room with Eddy [Rivera, Lauren Ruth Ward’s songwriting partner]. Eddy makes melodies with his guitar — he would take on that role, whereas I’m just like I have to get this off my chest and this is what I want to write about and I have like one word or a sentence and it would just kind of write the story itself.
What was the one word or sentence that was the origin of “Blue Collar Sex Kitten”?
The title to that song I wrote first and I don’t usually do that. I just started to think about [how] I have like a million sides to me, but I felt like I could break it down [to this]. That song was very stream of consciousness when we were writing it. It was a lot of tensed up things that I have been feeling that I haven’t addressed or didn’t allow myself to put onto paper to say out loud to a crowd. And these are things I guess people shouldn’t know about ONLY Because it’s “deemed inappropriate by society.”
What is the most meaningful lyric of that song for you?
I would say the hook speaks to me more because I have some friends who are fans and they’ll come to the shows and when I say this line, they say it with me. When you write a song and someone says, “you know what line speaks to me,” and you’re like, “ok, cool.” Then, that line officially means more to you now and that would be, “I’m a dike/dated guys/ain’t a crime/won’t apologize for my tribe.”
Whether or not it lived in my mind or it’s actual, there is pressure when you make a decision to change your sexual preference and the judgment from people who are gay and who aren’t gay and who are in between. It’s really unfortunate because I do believe wholeheartedly that if people, I mean obviously — this is like I wish for world peace and it sounds cheesy [but] I think there’s a bit of sexual fluidity in everyone. But there’s so much of that that people just feel is completely inappropriate and completely not realistic for your job choice.
It’s just so funny — strip everything down and we’re all just human. And I think if you take away that pressure, people would be able to kind of release more. I took away that pressure by moving out of my hometown and as soon as I moved I was able to find my space. You have to find your space — your kind of gay in a way, your kind of straight, your kind of in between. You have to put yourself in a place where you can be honest with yourself and others or else you’re just not going to be happy.
Photos: Mara Stusser
Wardrobe/HMU: Lauren Ruth Ward