Q: Where are you from?
A: I was born in Pennsylvania, and I grew up in Roseburg, Oregon.
It was a farm lot, so we didn't have any animals, but we had a lot of property, and it was in the middle of nowhere.
Q: How did you become a musician?
A: I got into music through listening to the blues a lot and that kind of started my interest in music. And then I started listening to a lot of hip hop as well, a lot of Nas and Jay Z, and I always liked to sing.
Q: What does ZZ stand for?
A: My name is Zsuzsanna, and there's two z's in my name, and obviously that's a tongue-twister; a lot of people couldn't say it, so ZZ became my nickname.
Q: How would you describe your style of music?
A: I'd say it's back porch blues meets hip hop.
Q: How does that fit into the Los Angeles music scene?
A: I'm not in L.A. a lot, to be honest; I'm on the road a lot. But, I mean, I've definitely found some great people to work with in L.A. that are in hip hop like Nephew, who's produced over half my record.
He's worked with 50 Cent, a lot of people, and he's super talented and just a wonderful person.
Q: 2012 was a pretty big year for you. Can you tell me about that?
A: I put my record out in October, and even before that, I started touring, so it's been a big year of touring and going out into the world and just getting fans and meeting fans and seeing how my music has impacted people around the nation and obviously in other countries, too. It's been a really amazing year.
Q: Growing up, did you expect to find this kind of success as an artist?
A: Yeah, I did, actually. I always wanted to be an artist. I can't say I knew it, because I can't say I know what's going to happen in my life, but I wanted it.
I always wanted everything to happen that's happening right now in my life.
And that's something I would tell other people, you know, that might be inspired by me; it's like, if you want something, if you decide you want something someday and you work at it for a month, I'm not saying it's going to pay off, but if you really want something and you really work at it for a really long time, then you'll get what you want. You just have to not give up.
Q: What was it like to perform on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno?
A: It was amazing. I mean, that was the first national TV appearance that I ever had. It was surreal because you watch it on TV and it's just so totally different than when you're actually there.
Q: Can you tell me about the most fun you've ever had playing music?
A: I'd say outside festivals, nice day or storming, because I'd say I'm kind of earthy a little bit, coming from Oregon.
I'd say outside, and it just has to be a great crowd.
It just has to be a crowd that's loving what you're playing because that makes it all worthwhile when there's people that are really into what you're doing.
Q: Have you ever played in the Vancouver area before?
A: I haven't, actually, so this will be my first time. I mean, we used to go up there sometimes because we used to live in Oregon.
Q: What can fans expect from your set here in August at the Burnaby Blues and Roots Festival?
A: Me and my band, we have this energy about us. We really love playing live, so I would just say it's an experience when you come to one of my shows.
You'll leave with a great memory of hearing the record (Til the Casket Drops) live.
What: The 14th annual Burnaby Blues and Roots Festival. Headlining the festival is Blue Rodeo, the country-rock band on tour celebrating 25 years together. In addition to ZZ Ward, the lineup includes funk/soul/R&B singer Charles Bradley, Canadian blues-rock musician Shaun Verreault, blues/soul/R&B singer Shakura S'Aida, multi-award-winning blues guitarist David Gogo, folk-rock/reggae duo Jon and Roy, gospel trio The Sojourners, multi-instrumentalist and Emmy-nominated composer John Lee Sanders, folk-rock artist Vince Vaccaro, singer Ndidi Onukwulu, and the six-piece ensemble band Brickhouse. The 12 bands will perform on three stages this year.
When: The festival takes place on Aug. 10 from 1 to 10 p.m. Gates open at noon. There will be a Blues Family Area, with activities for kids, open from noon to 7 p.m. Children must be supervised by a parent or guardian.
Where: Deer Lake Park in Burnaby.
Tickets: Advance single tickets are $65 and a pack of four is $180. On the day of the festival, single tickets will be available for $75. Children 12 and under get in free with an adult. For more information and/or tickets, call the box office at 604-205-3000 or visit www. burnabybluesfestival.com.
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