Lizzy from Ward Thomas talks to Charlotte Harding about the country music scene.
Growing up Lizzy and Catherine Ward Thomas admit they were always singing, but neither expected that one day they would be forging a career as a British modern country music duo.
“We were in a classical choir, Catherine was alto and I was soprano so this was our first experience of learning to harmonise with one another,” recalls Lizzy.
The 23-year-old twins grew up on a farm near Petersfield in Hampshire where Lizzy says their parents still live and is a place where they can still go to enjoy the ‘peace and quiet’.
Their introduction to the world of country music came from their cousin Libby.
“She came over from Canada and as young girls we idolised her,” reveals Lizzy.
“She came to live with us for a bit and introduced us to the Dixie Chicks, Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift.
“The sound and the music really captured us.”
Their debut album From Where We Stand was released in 2014 and made it to number one on the UK country chart.
“We wrote it when we were 17 or 18 it was very country or what we though was traditionally country,” she says.
“We were heavily influenced by the Dixie Chicks but for our second album we are in our 20s and although we are still influenced by them, our sound has changed a bit as we wanted to step it up a notch.”
The second album Cartwheels was released in June last year, and was written by the pair in Nashville.
“It was great for us to go there,” smiles Lizzy.
“America was fantastic for us to experience and if we hadn’t gone there I don’t think the second album would be the way it is now.
“We wrote the song Cartwheels out there and it just gave us something different.”
Lizzy adds that the pair made a conscious decision to do things differently and go in another new country direction.
“We have had different experiences now,” she says. “We have a wealth of more things we can write about.
“We love people watching and many of our songs are influenced by people we know or thing things we have seen.”
In April the pair embarked on their latest tour which includes their biggest headline show to date at the Shepherds Bush Empire on May 10.
“We started rehearsals in March but we are constantly writing new material,” Lizzy enthuses.
“We will do a couple of songs from the old album and then drop in some brand new stuff just to see what the reaction of the crowd will be.
“When we are writing an album we perform songs for family and friends when it is still in a very raw state and we get very honest feedback but it helps when we go into the studio we know what we have to tweak.”
With 22 dates on the tour including the Pavilion Theatre in Worthing Lizzy says all the travelling is a lot easier as she gets to do it with her sister.
“We wouldn’t have it any other way,” she smiles.
“It is like taking a bit of home with you when you are out on the road and because we know one another so well when we need space or some time alone we get it. You are always surrounded by people so sometimes you just need to be by yourself.”
Even though the pair have played numerous concerts and festival she admits that performing for a crowd can still be nerve wrecking.
“The audience can be a really good tester but there are some songs people love while they don’t like others so you just have to see their reaction and see how it goes down,” says Lizzy.
“When you are invested and love a song you can be quite nervous performing it for the first time in front of an audience.
“But when they love it there is no other feeling.
“It can be really exciting as well waiting to go out on stage, we just can’t wait to perform and see all our fans.”
Ward Thomas play the Pavilion Theatre in Worthing on May 11. For more information on the band, to buy the album or tickets, visit www.wardthomasmusic.com
Picture: Josh Sinner
This first featured in the May edition of etc Magazine pick up your copy now.