For her new single and music video, “Waiting,” singer Zhavia Ward was inspired by the people who have been in her life for the wrong reasons.
“A lot of people will come in and out of your life, and sometimes they’re there for the right reasons, but there are some people who are not there for the right reasons and they don’t have the best intentions for you,” she says. “And they might make you feel a certain way about yourself or what you’re doing, but you have to learn to push those people out of your life and not really care what they think.”
The video, shot in black-and-white by director duo Andrew Sandler and Tusk, started with the idea of falling but not hitting the ground. They introduced three ominous — and anonymous — masked figures, pursuing and watching her.
“In the end I take my power back and I pull off their masks and there’s nothing underneath,” she says. “And that’s supposed to symbolize that these people’s opinions don’t really matter; they’re not really anything.”
The 19-year-old got her break on the reality singing competition show “The Four: Battle for Stardom” in 2018. Afterwards, she went on to record a song with Diplo, French Montana and Lil Pump for “Deadpool 2,” and sang a cover of “A Whole New World” with Zayn Malik for last year’s live-action remake of “Aladdin.” She released her debut EP “17” with Columbia Records last summer, and is currently in the early stages of working on her first album. (Currently paused due to the coronavirus.)
She’s had a lot of exposure in a short period of time — she notes that she went onto “The Four” with 2,000 social media and came out with 2 million — and as a result, shrugging off the negative opinions has been particularly paramount.
“My audience that listens to my music; it doesn’t necessarily mean they like me,” she says. “In everything that you do there are always going to be people that disagree with you and who you are, but at the end of the day it’s about me and my happiness, so I don’t really care.”
She credits two characters — Edward Scissorhands and Cloud Strife from “Final Fantasy” — as the sartorial inspiration for “Waiting.” “I really wanted to be in something that made me feel like a superhero,” she says.
The singer attended New York Fashion Week in February, with a cosign from another creative who got their breakout on reality TV: Christian Siriano.
“I was a fan of his work and I was following him on Instagram, and then he DM’d me and was like, ‘Hey, do you want to come out and perform at my show and attend the fashion show and I’ll dress you?’” In addition to performing at his after party, she also wore a suit by the designer to amfAR; she kicked off the week at the anniversary celebration for L’Avenue at Saks.
“Fashion is a big part of my life, it’s really important to me,” says Ward, who’s represented in fashion by Lions Talent Management. She credits her parents — her mother sang in a metal band, and her dad sang R&B — for inspiring her personal style, which veers punk, rock, vintage and streetwear.
“My music and my fashion are very opposite, but I think they complement each other,” she says.