There’s a lot about Hadyn Ward and his music that can be summed up in one simple quote.
“I think the biggest buzz of all is playing your music to the folks who don't often get much attention in life,” he says. “I think that’s what my music has always been about.”
Life lived, music shared. It’s been that way since Ward first picked up an acoustic guitar at age 12 in his country hometown of Albany, Western Australia. He was a ‘90s kid, however, so the acoustic model was soon enough replaced by a distortion-drenched electric guitar and a grunge obsession spurred by the energetic-yet-eternally-searching likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Stone Temple Pilots. At the time, however, it was a passion lent to solitude.
“My family don't have one single bone of music in their body,” he notes. “So for me, the guitar was always a very private thing... and still is to this day.”
Moving to Perth as a young adult, Ward’s first taste of gigging life came when he worked as a barman at Clancy’s Fish Pub in Canning Bridge in the early-to-mid 2000s. Offered the opportunity to take the stage, he formed a duo with a mate and played regularly for the next year. Fellow local musicians soon became as much an inspiration as those grunge gods of yore.
“My main influence from a local point of view was Nathan Gaunt,” he says of the acclaimed WA singer/songwriter/performer. “I used to marvel at his talent when I was working behind the bar at Clancy's when he played there on Wednesday nights. He inspired me to become a musician full-time and from there traditional songwriters like Alex Lloyd, Eskimo Joe, Gomez, The Tea Party, Pete Murray, Crowded House became the artists I look up to most as songwriters.”
During this time Ward formed indie trio Feldspa, playing almost 200 gigs all around WA from 2002-07. Playing country shows remains a priority for Ward, and as he went on to release solo works his musical drive and commitment to sharing his songs gained momentum.
2013’s Johnny No Cash EP was an excellent solo kick-off. “That EP was a one-hit-wonder that seemed to make every single person smile and was by far their favourite song of mine,” he recalls. “I had some interest from America with that song, so I thought I would go all the way and record and release it. It was a novelty, I guess. It is still the best received song when I smash a big live version of it.
That song (“a straight-forward message about how useless us males can be,” he laughs) saw release on the LA-released Acoustica Vol 17 2013 compilation and subsequently followed Ward along on his 2016 full-length album, Good Folk, Bad Folk, recorded and completed with no lack of personal toil. “That LP is something I am proud of,” he says. “It cost $4,000 and the only way I was going to pay for it was to sleep in my van in a dodgy park near Fremantle for two months, be homeless and put everything I had into it. I made a huge sacrifice to pull that
off. The album was well received by people, especially in Kalgoorlie, Albany and Esperance. I am hoping they saw the honesty in my album and me as a travelling muso.”
Over the years Ward has gained airplay on Nova 93.7, RTR FM, Boom Radio, Fremantle FM 107.3fm, Triple M Esperance & Kalgoorlie, Radiowest Albany and more and is surely to receive more for the soon to be released single, Kalgoorlie. It will be accompanied by Ward’s first music video, which pays tribute to the late Elijah Doughty.
“I’m planning to get this video and song heard around Australia,” he states, “as I think it is a perfect way to describe Kalgoorlie in a positive way and not the tension that has been seen lately.
“These days all I want is to make sure the people who have had an unfair run in life and have been unfairly done by, for whatever the reason, get to be included in my music.”
With a New Year on the horizon, Ward is more committed than ever to his own music. You’ll no doubt see him playing at a venue near you very soon.
“After spending three years playing hundreds of cover gigs, 2018 is all about healthy living,” he smiles… “and writing great, important songs!”