Interview with leading British country act Ward Thomas ahead of Norwich show
We caught up with Lizzy Ward Thomas from country duo Ward Thomas ahead of their headline show at OPEN in Norwich on March 2.
24-year-old twins Lizzy and Catherine, better known as Ward Thomas, are set to headline OPEN in Norwich after the release of their latest album Restless Minds on February 1.
Formed back in 2014, the duo have been interested in music for years and have been singing together many years prior to forming the band.
“We’ve been singing together from a very young age. The first time we realized we wanted to go into music as a career together was when we started writing songs together at the age of 15/16,” Lizzy told.
Drawing on influences from multiple genres, they never set out to be just a country group.
“We’ve always listened to country music and loved acts like the Dixie Chicks, Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert and so on. But we also love music from the 60s and 70s,” explained Lizzy.
“Our favourite band is probably Fleetwood Mac, but recently we’ve been listening to a lot of pop songs and been writing with pop songwriters so we have a bit of a broader influence all round really.”
Their latest album Restless Minds discusses some of the current issues facing young adults - a topic that they both feel very passionate about.
“Catherine and I are very passionate about topics that cover the effects on our mental health from social media. And approaching our mid 20s we found ourselves changing a lot and discovering the anxiety of adulthood in many different ways.”
“We talked about these things in many song writing sessions and found our fellow songwriting relating with us on these matters and feeling the same.”
“So a lot of the process of writing this album consisted of passionate conversations and discussions on mental health, social media, growing up, finding your feet in the big intimidating world and learning to take that brave journey of digging deep into your own mind and self. That’s why we called this album Restless Minds.”
Having a prominent platform has allowed Ward Thomas to voice their opinions on particular issues and help start important conversations.
“I feel with this modern online world we now have more freedom to have a voice no matter who you are.”
“We feel for us we can also have that in our music and it’s important to us that we spread openness and positivity. Especially with this online world for us it’s important to promote being human and encourage the fact that it’s ok not to be ok. But it’s all a balance.”
Having worked with British singer and songwriter Ed Drewett (Olly Murs, One Direction, Little Mix, Jones Blue) to co-write three of the songs on their latest album, Lizzy speaks about the importance of drawing upon multiple genres when writing their songs.
“It was very beneficial as it bought more of a mixture to the album and we learnt a lot from people like Ed and Rachel Furner. We also formed some close relationships which made the songs more honest and new.”
Now that the album has been released, Ward Thomas are excited to get on the road and perform the new album live.
“We can’t wait! We’ve been working on the show and the set list and can’t wait to perform Restless Minds live! We hope the show will translate with how we’ve changed and developed from the last tour.”
They are looking forward to getting to play a variety of venues across the country with one date in particular eliciting excitement.
“We can’t wait for it all. We’re excited for the London show as Shepherds Bush Empire is one of our favourite venues but we also love playing all over as every audience is different so it makes it more fun for us.”
When asked what about their favourite parts of touring, Lizzy said: “We love touring and yes there can be difficult moments on tour where we both miss home comforts especially our dogs. We all do get very tired by the end of the tour so that can be challenging but we love it.”
Ward Thomas have played an important part in the ride of country music in the UK - something that neither of them had ever anticipated.
“We never imagined that. We went into this releasing From Where We Stand as a bit of an experiment so it’s amazing to see what’s happened.”
With their debut album Cartwheels achieving number one in the UK charts, something they consider to be their biggest achievement, it’s evident that the duo have worked hard to be where they are today.
“We want to have longevity in our career and hope to be doing what we’re doing for a very long time.”
“We’re always wanting to grow and develop with each album we release and hope we can carry on taking people on our musical journey.”
• Tickets to Ward Thomas’ show in Norwich on March 2 are available from OPEN’s website for £18.50 advance + booking fee