San Diego native Ian Ward has been playing Romeo in “Baz” at the Palazzo Theatre for just five months, but he’s already learned a lot about Las Vegas and even found some inspiration here.
“Being from San Diego, Vegas was always the weekend getaway. Even when I was a kid, my parents brought me for my birthday and we did the indoor skydiving and Circus Circus, but I never knew Vegas had so much to offer,” says the singer, songwriter and actor.
His new single “Desert Rain,” a sultry rock song, was inspired by his Vegas adventures and will be included on the full album he’s writing and recording with plans for a release later this year.
“When I’m writing I don’t think about what sort of genre the song is going to be, it just ends up having a certain sound,” says Ward. “I’m influenced by a broad spectrum of artists so the music is going to come out with a broad sound. ‘Desert Rain’ is definitely inspired by being here and I think the bass and melody has a sort of Sting or Coldplay vibe, while other songs are more electro-pop or classic ’70s four-piece rock.”
Ward says his musical tastes are rooted in his father’s vinyl collection, music from the 1960s through the 1980s. But his experiences onstage with musical theater have also influenced his own songwriting and creativity.
“That’s why I like ‘Baz’ so much, which has this great integration of pop music,” he says. “When I first arrived, it was my job to step into this cohesive unit and bring what I could to the character, and for the first couple of weeks it was a whirlwind. But now after five months I think I’m fitting into the character and making it my own, and definitely more comfortable.”
Ward has also performed in “American Idiot” at La Mirada Theatre in Los Angeles and in “Rock of Ages” on Norwegian Cruise Lines among other productions during his 15-year career. He’s been writing his own music for about five years and is now fitting recording sessions into his hectic, six-night show schedule while also pursuing a bachelor’s degree in music.
He’s also performed around town at the Tuscany, on the Brooklyn Bridge at New York-New York and at Bailiwick at the Orleans. “Right now I’m putting together a live show I can pitch to venues around Las Vegas and working on a setlist that will include some of these original tracks,” he says.