Born Zsuzsanna Eva Ward in Abington, Pennsylvania, singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist (guitar, piano, and harmonica) ZZ Ward spent her childhood in the small town of Roseburg, Oregon, splitting her listening time between her father's blues collection and her brother's hip-hop records, a blend that would be a big part of her later sound and style. She was singing in her father's blues band by the time she was 12, and by 16 she was singing with hip-hop acts in Eugene. Moving to L.A. and hoping to break into the West Coast music business, Ward's unique blend of blues, rock, hip-hop, R&B, and neo-soul brought her a recording deal with Boardwalk Entertainment Group and Hollywood Records, and she began work on a debut album. A free mixtape, Eleven Roses, with interpretations by Ward of recent tracks by other artists, appeared in February of 2012, with an EP, Criminal, following in May, and Til the Casket Drops, the completed album, showed up in October that same year. ~ Steve Leggett.