Born into music: Local musician shares his story


RACHEL SUN | The Daily Evergreen

Musician David Ward drums on buckets and other hollow objects during Pullman’s Farmers Market on Saturday.

RACHEL SUN, Evergreen Roots editor

Name, age: David Ward, 19

Started playing music: 16 years ago

Occupation: Composer/musician. Drummer for local band Landrace during the summer, sophomore Jazz major at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance during the school year.

What got you started playing music?

“My dad’s a musician, and he kind of threw music into my hands at a very, very early age. I learned to play in black churches in Portland. I had a really killer mentor who taught me a lot. It’s actually the same mentor as [famous Jazz musician] Esperanza Spalding. He’s very magical. I wouldn’t consider myself good at the drums until there was a year where I joined his band. I started playing jazz when I was about 13. I played jazz for like, nine months and then all of a sudden, we were in New York and we had won a competition. He made you find out if you wanted to be a musician — like, I cried a lot.” *laughs*

What is one of your biggest challenges as a musician?

“Keeping up the motivation to practice and simultaneously keeping my mental health in order. The whole part of being a musician is being able to express yourself. Out-of-control mental health issues give you the ability not to express yourself very well. Once people have gotten through them, they can take those emotions and put them into music, but until you get through them, I don’t think you can.”

What’s one of the best parts about being a musician?

“I’ve come to grips with the fact that I’m an attention whore. If you love attention, and you want to do it in a healthy way, where everybody involved feels good about themselves, play music. I just came to understand myself. Being a musician allows you to connect with people without having to talk to them or be put in a social situation with them. You can just have a gig, and people are there, and you are automatically invading their brain waves with your music. It’s powerful.”