#CreativeFiles: Singer/Songwriter Winston Ward Wants to Know ‘Can He Sing For You?’
Winston Ward is what you get when classic and new age R&B collide. Hailing from the Bronx, Winston is a singer/songwriter who conisders himself a student of the genre. Inspired by acts like Dru Hill, Tank, Frank Ocean and Jhene Aiko (just to name a few) Winston balances old school vocal runs with a new age sound.
With women serving as one of his major inspirations, he cleverly branded himslef with the hashtag #CanISingForYou. Winston has used 2016 to set the perfect stage to release his latest project “Just a Sample” which features 5 1–2 minute samples of some of his recorded works. Production could be better but that’s something I’m sure will improve with time and evolve as Winston continues to hone his sound. And boyyy, can this young man sing!
We recently caught up with Winston and dove more into what’s going on with his music career and what he hopes to accomplish in 2017.
The Cool.: What the earliest memory you have of you singing? And when did you realize music was something you wanted to take seriously?
Winston Ward: The earliest memory I can recall of me singing had to be when I was about 10 or 11. I remember my oldest brother playing his brand new Dru Hill/Sisqo CD almost everyday. He would sing all the songs back to back and naturally as a kid looking up to his older brother, I wanted to follow suit. Whenever he wasn’t around I would play the songs and sing them just as loud as he would.
I realized that music was something I really wanted to do when I auditioned for a talent show at The National Urban League Youth Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when I was about 14 years old. Prior to this I was heavily influenced by my musical director at my church, Prof. Stuart Ross, but I never took singing seriously. I remember the day of the performance like it was yesterday. I was extremely nervous but I was determined to make this happen. I sang Stevie Wonder’s “Ribbon In The Sky” in front of a packed auditorium. I ended the song by walking up to a girl and handing her a stuffed teddy bear as I sang to her. The crowd went crazy and everyone loved the performance. At that moment I realized that singing was something I needed to take seriously.
The Cool.: I heard a few throwback r&b references from 112 to Destiny’s Child. What are some your favorite R&B acts?
Winston Ward: I truly consider myself a student of R&B. I’m completely in love with the genre. My favorite acts are Dru Hill (of course), Boyz II Men, Tank, Musiq Soulchild, Brandy, Bruno Mars, Maxwell, Chris Brown, Drake, Luther Vandross, Kehlani, Frank Ocean, Jodeci, etc. I could literally go on forever. I love them all.
The Cool.: As a songwriter, what are some of your biggest inspirations?
Winston Ward: As I songwriter, I’m inspired by so many acts. Frank Ocean, Tank, Ne-Yo, Drake, Jhene Aiko, Eric Bellinger are just to name a few. As far as what inspires me personally, I use real life experiences and the experiences of my friends to influence my music. I feel like the best type of music is relatable music. The type of music you can listen to and say “Wait, I been through the same thing!” My goal is to touch people through my music vocally and lyrically.
The Cool.: How did you come up with #CanISingForYou?
Winston Ward: During high school you would always hear me singing in the hallways. It would either be because I sang to girls in between classes or just singing to myself. Their favorite thing to ask me was “Can You Sing For Me?” Later on in my singing career I looked back on what really propelled me into wanting to sing and what made me want to keep improving as a singer. The answer was because I enjoyed singing for people and evoking different emotions based on my singing. So I just decided to brand myself with the hashtag #CanISingForYou.
The Cool.: How do you feel about the current state of R&B?
Winston Ward: I get a lot of questions about the current state of R&B. A lot of people seem either uninterested or unsatisfied with it. Personally I enjoy it. I feel like the current state is needed in order for it to blossom into what it will be 5–10 years from now. A few years ago it was in pretty bad shape but I feel like over the past few years it’s grown tremendously and it will continue to grow.
The Cool.: If you could describe your music with 3 words, what would they be?
Winston Ward: The 3 words I’d use to describe my music would be smooth, soulful & insightful.
The Cool.: What’s next for Winston Ward?
Winston Ward: In 2017, I will be releasing 2 major projects with a lot of surprises and sneak peeks in between. I’ll also be trying my hand in many different avenues musically such as executive producing, and music directing/supervising as well as merchandising. I’ll definitely keep all of my social media channels up to date with everything I have going on. Get connected with me and don’t be a stranger!!!