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The Load Out Music Podcast

From Rock Hall-of-Famers to Grammy winners and emerging artists on the cusp of greatness The Load Out Music Podcast is hosted by singer/songwriter Aaron Perlut and features intimate, long-form conversations with music artists.

Aug 28, 2023

If there’s anything to be learned from the monumental successes of Beyonce and Taylor Swift, it’s that music artists can do more than simply record and perform music. Certainly, each has established themselves as exceptional artists. But they have also cultivated remarkably strong seemingly interpersonal bonds with their fans ranging from Beyonce’s “Bee Hive” to Taylor’s “Swifties.” 

A few rungs down the ladder, yet furiously climbing higher and higher, sits the uniquely engaging Zsuzsanna Eva Ward. She is better known as ZZ Ward and was our most recent guest on The Load Out music podcast. 

Ward’s fan community is known as “Dirty Shine,” a term revolving around being one’s authentic self—imperfections and vulnerabilities included. The term itself, “Dirty Shine,” that is, has become something of a mission statement and rallying cry for the singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, whose alternative, blues and hip-hop-blending music has quietly exploded amongst her passionate fanbase.

“The concept of ‘Dirty Shine’ is larger than the record,” Ward said of her new album. “When I put out my first album (2012’s Til the Casket Drops), my fans and I started saying we are dirty shine. It was about embracing who you are—we are all dirty, a little rough around the edges. I’ve always had this vibe, but I feel like this time in my life is like dirty shine on steroids. I can fully be myself, and nothing can stop me.” 

Ward, however, has gone beyond embracing her who she is, embracing her fans and polishing that dirty shine through her relationships each and every day, noting that she chats “with my fans on Discord every day.”

Ward’s Til the Casket Drops made a notable entry into the AAA Radio Charts Top 10. Her sophomore album, The Storm, clinched the number one spot on the Billboard Blues Charts.

On her third and latest effort, Dirty Shine sets a new bar as more of a cinematic piece with a diverse blend of sounds—from bold electronic textures, rugged hip-hop beats, to juke joint harmonica. The album was recorded in collaboration with renowned producers such as Ludwig Göransson, Mike Elizondo, Jason Evigan and more. The single "On One," features Jean Deaux and is inspired by Ward’s new role as a mother. It carries an empowering message, defying the stereotype that motherhood equates to weakness. 

“You just have to run your own race and do your own thing,” Ward said.

As Ward expands her role in making music she has gone beyond artist and become a video director, record label owner, a new mom, and she hand-makes versions of her signature fedoras that are available for purchase via her website

Watch her polish that dirty shine as we enjoy a great conversation with ZZ Ward on the latest edition of The Load Out music podcast.