Out of New Jersey, Christina Ward writes songs that inspire feelings of both nostalgia and renewal, and has been making a name for herself since 2000 with a series of one-off singles, followed by two EPs, ‘Rent’, and ‘Humans’, both well-received. Her style is characterised by electronic-infused psychedelic folk music, and combines delay-drenched acoustic guitars, spaced-out synths, hypnotic melodies and deeply personal lyricism. All this adds up to a sound that feels like an introspective daydream.
Ward’s debut long-player, ‘Calendar’, was released on October 21, and its 7 heartfelt tracks are her most intimate to date, as they tackle themes of heartbreak, wisdom and redemption in the wake of a former life. The album is completely written, produced, and recorded by Ward herself.
Speaking about ‘Calendar’, Christina Ward said,
“This album has much to do with starting over. I wrote and recorded most of it while I was going through a divorce, which made me recall all the times in my life that I’ve had to restart from scratch. Having fallen in love with someone and knowing it won’t ever really work out. But as with everything I write, it’s a mix of things past and present. Realizing a lesson I should have already learned is coming around again, full circle. Hoping that maybe I’ll get it right one of these days…”
All this serves as an introduction to our interview with Christina Ward herself, and one we hope you enjoy very much.
Hi Christina, thanks for speaking to us today! Your new album, ‘Calendar’, is out on October 21, and we’ve been listening. On your single ‘Tonight’, we’re struck by the alien quality to your ethereal vocals and the instrumentals. They work so well with the lyrics. Who would you say inspires you? We’re feeling a bit of Kate Bush there, would that be right?
Kate Bush is amazing – what a huge compliment! I would say a lot of local music inspires my writing; so many great musicians in this area. It all started with Led Zeppelin when I was young, but I’ve been listening to Lomelda, Babehoven, Big Thief, Nick Hakim, etc lately…
‘Calendar’ is a great name for an album that’s all about renewal and starting over again. We’ve found it’s very personal; ‘Time’ affected us deeply, it’s very relatable with its imagery of doing things and making mistakes, and never seeming to make progress – if time is a construct then why does it keep repeating. Was it cathartic writing ‘Calendar’, and do you feel you’ve got some answers?
When I was a kid I would lock myself in my room and play guitar. It was therapy. Writing and creating music is still therapy for me. It’s a way of processing experiences past and present. I think it brings a little clarity… This record is definitely a small window into my life. It’s hard to be so transparent in my writing and release that into the universe for people to listen to. I think I have a bit of regret every time I do it, but I try to push past it.
You wrote, recorded, and produced ‘Calendar’ yourself, what was the reasoning behind that, rather than getting someone else to do the production? Do you feel that’s part of the process, does it make it more personal, to know you’ve done it yourself, and these are your authentic feelings, rather than someone else’s interpretation?
Mostly because I don’t have a budget to record in a studio or have an engineer mix anything. I’m lucky enough to have a friend who is a fantastic mastering engineer, Nawi Avilla. It definitely makes the experience a personal one, but I think you can accomplish that in a studio or working with an engineer as well. It just takes trusting someone with a similar vision I think.
If someone approached you for advice about getting into music professionally, what would you tell them? What lessons have you learned along the way that you’d be happy to share with others?
Don’t let the business part of music deter you from creating. I hate the business part of music. It’s hard to navigate. I would outsource it and concentrate on the creative part if possible.
What is the songwriting process like for you? Do you start out with the lyrics, or the melody, or is it a combination of the two, or something else completely?
Lots of coffee. I usually write in the morning. It either happens or it doesn’t – I try not to force it. I usually start with the melody.
Finally, and I ask this question of everyone I interview, what question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview, but nobody ever does? And what is the answer to that question?
That is a hard one! What is my favorite color? Aquamarine. Or what is my favorite movie? I Origins.
‘Calendar’ by Christina Ward is out now and is available to stream and download here. You can follow Christina Ward online on Instagram.