"Young girl you better go fast, this world ain't gonna hold back" Zhavia Ward sings on the title track for her new EP 17. "You know you gotta own your life."
The standout from The Four is taking another big leap this week, with the release of her debut EP and a video for the lead-off song filmed in her hometown of Norwalk, California. "That's like me talking to myself, when I was younger" the 18-year-old singer says of the lyric in the exclusive video above. It's Zhavia's favorite line and a statment of purpose for the young star, who voices a unique brand of R&B across all of 17.
"The EP is basically a recap of the last two years of my life, just with everything going on" Zhavia tells RADIO.COM. "Kind of blowing up from the exposure on the show, and just what I've been going through."
17 embodies that journey, from being a finalist on The Four: Battle for Stardom to being hand-picked for the update of "A Whole New World" from Aladdin, to this new time for her to define herself as an artist. "I think my motivation is my passion for music and my passion for people, my passion for inspiring" says Zhavia. "I get to do something that I love, but I also get to support my family and support myself, so it's a blessing."
Zhavia also gave us a tour of her tattoos, many of them inspired by the songs on 17. "I got one for '100 Ways.' Which I have like a hundred time marks" she explains. Ward also has one for her song "EZ" and for the song "Candlelight." However, they are not all about the music. "I have a tattoo of my boyfriend" she smiles, squirming in her chair and shooting boyfriend Emmanuel Lateju a loving look off-screen. Pulling up her sleeve she explains, "I wanted to get Emmanuel on my arm because this is a forever thing" she laughs. "Gotta let everybody know."
You can watch more from Zhavia Ward in the exclusive video above. 17 is now available everywhere.