For blues and hip-hop singer/songwriter ZZ Ward, the phrase “dirty shine” extends far beyond a gimmicky tour slogan. “It’s a term I’ve been using for embracing my sound and style,” she says. “To me, it means embracing your authentic self. And it’s what I feel I did on Til the Casket Drops, and something I encourage other people to do in their own life.” That authentic self has shades of her past and present: her youth cutting her musical chops in her dad’s blues band and Oregon hip-hop clubs, and recent lengthy tours around the country. Since she was 12, she’s learned how to work and interact with a variety of other musicians. Her debut, Til the Casket Drops, rounds up some of these people, including Kendrick Lamar, Freddie Gibbs and Michael Fitzpatrick of Fitz and The Tantrums. Her songs mix the “heart and soul” and “rawness” of the blues with hip-hop’s empowering creative drive. “I mixed those styles and made something my own,” she says. It’s a risky proposition for her first album and for those who took a chance on her, but this “dirty shine” is shimmering brightly with newfound confidence.