Mormon Tabernacle Choir singer and USU graduate goes
ACROSS THE THRESHOLD: Adam
Ward has released The Door. / Photo by
Story by Nathan Laursen
April 17, 2009 | USU alumnus Adam
Ward has recently relinquished his membership in the
Mormon Tabernacle Choir and begun a pioneer quest of
individual creative expression with the release of his
first solo album.
After touring and recording with
the world-famous religious choir for over three years,
Ward has taken the first steps of his personal crusade
as a solo artist with the release of "The Door."
The self-described folk artist is
unrepentant and feels no remorse for leaving the choir,
but felt it was a necessity for him to free up the time
to focus on his own music. Ward, 36, is married and
serves as vice-president of a software company. He decided
in 2008 that it was time for him to leave the choir
and seek new experiences.
"I have a different mentality.
I am more of the type of person who likes to experience
lots of different things," Ward said, "In order to experience
something new you have to give up something you are
Ward said becoming a member of the
choir was never really a life-long dream or aspiration
for him, but that he tried out for the choral group
at the suggestion by his Uncle, who was in the choir
for approximately 20 years. Ward, a Hyrum native and
current resident of Centerville, said he had grown up
watching for his uncle's face when the choir preformed,
but had never yearned to join like many vocalists familiar
with the choir are prone to do.
Ward said he was amazed at how frequently
people would envy him when he told them he was in the
choir, confessing it was one of their life-long dreams.
Ward said he will never regret leaving the choir, and
compared his departure to the time he sold a 1968 Ford
Mustang he use to own.
"I am not going to feel bad
about not having that experience anymore," Ward said.
"I have taken that approach with everything in life.
I wasn't going to be one of those guys who wishes he
hadn't sold an old car." Ward, however, did say he was
prone to feeling a tinge of nostalgia while watching
the choir when he sees where he used to stand and recognizes
All of the 16 songs on "The Door"
are arranged and preformed by Ward, who not only displays
his vocal and composing talent, but his ability to play
the piano, slide guitar, and accordion. Ward, who graduated
from Utah State in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts in Print
Journalism, has always had a knack for creating music.
He said he was introduced to the piano early in life
by his mother who taught piano lessons for 35 years.
It was only a few years after starting lessons from
someone else at the age of 5 that Ward began writing
his own songs.
Ward's music has been described as
"Utah-centric," and Ward said his high tenor voice is
often confused or compared with a romantic low female
voice. "No guy wants to hear that his voice is being
compared to a woman," Ward said, "but that is my voice,
and I'm going to sing in the range of my voice. I write
the songs specifically for my voice."
Utah State University's Music Department
Head and former director of the Tabernacle Choir, Craig
Jessop, was quoted as describing Ward's voice as creative,
new, and original.
"Any musician wants to be unique,
or what is the point?" Ward said. "I don't know if my
sound is unique, but my approach is."
Ward describes his music as jazz-infused
folk, and said that he likes to have a good story behind
each song he writes. This "unique approach"
is evident throughout Ward's album, and perhaps best
illustrated by the song appropriately entitled "Backhoe
Ward said he drew from personal experience
when writing the song. It is a perfect combination of
his mother, who graduated with a performance degree,
and his father, who purchased a backhoe in 1978.
"This is what you get if Chopin
had been a heavy equipment operator," Ward said, "No
one in his right mind is going to write a song about
a backhoe man."
The lack of boundaries and restriction
to a specific genre are the reasons Ward gave for his
idiosyncratic style. Ward said he isn't with a label
or creating his songs and making an album for a particular
market, but rather "as a release for my creative juices."
He said he is continually writing and thinking of new
"I always have an idea swirling
around in my brain," Ward said, ""when music or a melody
comes, I have to develop it. The song I am most excited
about at any given time is the one I am thinking about."
Ward said he plans on continuing
to make albums, but doesn't have enough time to constantly
be working at it. "You always have more things you would
like to do then you can do," Ward said. "Life is a balance.
You have to prioritize." He said the best way to accomplish
your plans is to set a goal and consistently work at
it even if it is only a little bit at a time. Ward said
the oldest song on his album was written in 1995.
Part of the inspiration to make the
album, Ward said, came from performing shows in his
home and throughout Davis county. "I do enjoy performing
and would love to do more of that," Ward said, "I first
started playing these songs at house parties, and would
get positive feedback. The more positive feedback I
got, the more confident I became."
Ward said most of his songs are performance
based, and require the right type of setting. Ward said
it has been more than 12 years since he lived in Cache
Valley, but would love to come back and preform. "Now
that the album is done, I would love to perform at the
new concert hall," Ward said.
"The Door" is available on
and CD Baby.
To find out more about Adam Ward and his music you can