He’s been referred to as a new-age Bob Dylan, and for good reason - his languid tracks are a shout out to another era. Singer-songwriterguitarist Matthew Stephen Ward, popularly known as M Ward, made his Indian debut alongside iconic jazz artiste Norah Jones, as part of her India concert tour. Ward, who is known for combining a contemporary folk sound with blues, is most famous for being one half of indie duo She & Him, along with singer-actor Zooey Deschanel. Tracks like Poison Cup and Eyes on the Prize have pegged him as a critically acclaimed artiste. After his gigs in various cities across the country, he tells us more about collaborations with Jones, Deschanel and everything in between.
Brian Wilson and Phil Spector.
Most memorable collaboration.
I have a new record with my band, She & Him. That is my most productive collaboration. Also, when I’ve collaborated with Norah Jones, always a pleasure.
Do you see yourself more as a singer or a guitarist?
Guitarist. The guitar was my first instrument - I started with that, not with singing. My main passion is the guitar.
What does it take to be faithful to an old-school sound, when most of the industry relies so heavily on technology for their music?
It takes focus and a passion to follow the sound you hear in your head.
The best part of working with Zooey Deschanel.
Her songwriting. And getting to produce all these great songs with her. She’s a funny and humble person, and great to work with.
A little on this collaboration with Norah Jones.
She sent me an email about five or six years ago asking if I would be interested in working on a record with her and so I was a guest on her Not Too Late record. We got along well and toured the world in 2007 for about five months. The closest we came to India was Turkey, so it’s a great pleasure to finally having made it to India with Norah. She is one of the greatest singers in the world - her voice is an instrument that can fit with any kind of music.
Your thoughts on India.
Gandhi, Satyajit Ray and Ravi Shankar have formed my image of India. So obviously, I’m was very excited to meet the people here and see the country.
You’ve said A Wasteland Companion has been inspired in part by T S Eliot’s Wasteland. Has there been any other literature that has influenced you?
James Joyce and Hemmingway are some of the writers that I enjoy.
What’s in the pipeline?
My other project, She & Him, will release a record and tour North America this summer.