| Ward began writing songs with fellow student Stephen Stohn while both were attending college in Toronto in the mid ’70s. They played the local coffee houses as a duet when they caught the attention of Warner Bros Records executives. Stohn opted to continue his studies, but Ward signed a record deal and was taken to Sounds Interchange Studios to work on some demos he and Stohn had written. Half a dozen songs were recorded, and “Lost In Love” b/w “Once For Your Mother” was released as a single in 1976, but failed to make any sort of impression.|
Undeterred, he returned to the studios when he had time, while working as the leader of the band in the CBC children’s series, “Catch Up.” “Once In A Long Time” was released as a single before Christmas ’77, and label brass was encouraged enough to be convinced a full album was warranted. Still maintaining a songwriting partnership with Stohn, and along with a group of seasoned studio musicians, who’d worked with the Average White Band, The Becker Brothers, and Moe Koffman, SPARK OF DESIRE hit the shelves the following spring. Three more singles were issued before the end of the year, and “Maybe Your Heart,” “Imagine A Song, and “No Time To Cry” all did relatively well, but failed to break him mainstream. Warner heard the tapes and passed on US distribution all together.
He continued to hone his songwriting skills while working in television, and met famed producer Jack Richardson, most noteable for his resume with The Guess Who, among countless others. Together they entered Nimbus Soundstage in Toronto while Ward shopped around for another label. He inked a deal with Edmonton based House of Lords Records in 1981, and his sophomore album, TIME STANDS STILL, saw the light of day by that summer. The assembled session players included David Wipper and Bernie LaBarge on guitars and Dave Tyson on keyboards. Full of tight hooks and clever pop melodies, “Heart Breakin’ Beauty” b/w “Steal My Heart” was the first single. “So Long To Baby Jane” and “Words On The Wire” followed suit throughout the year, but one constant remained – none of the songs, while well-written, were given much of a push from the label and none cracked the Top 20. He put together a band for the promo tours, which included Wipper and Billy Idol bassist Steven Webster.
While his recording ventures seemed stalled, he took acting lessons and even joined the Second City improv troupe for awhile, which also featured a 17-years old Mike Myers. Ward then landed a job at CHUM’s CITY-TV in Toronto, hosting City Limits, an all night video program on the weekends, making him Canada’s first VJ. The show featured Ward hosting videos and welcoming guests on to the set, who included Bon Jovi and Mike Myers in his Wayne’s World character long before he was signed to Saturday Night Live. MTV wasn’t allowed in Canada at the time because of Canadian content regulations, and when MuchMusic was launched in ’84, the programming seemed to stem from City Limits – so it was only natural that Ward would become one of Canada’s first music network’s first hosts. In fact, when CHUM applied for the network, Ward’s program was actually used as one of the examples of what Canadian programming would look like.
For the next five years MuchMusic continued to break ground and Ward continued to play a role in its success – even revitalizing City Limits, in which he promoted the best independents Canada had to offer. While helping others pave their paths and gain exposure, he also continued to write his own material. He signed a deal with Attic Records in ’87 and released a self-titled five song EP that summer. The record featured Myles again on backing vocals, along with Sheree Jeacocke and Shawne Jackson-Troiano, and “Boys and Girls” was released as a single. But with little push from the brass, failed to chart.
A year later MCA released his single “Twist Of Fate,” b/w “Take A Chance,” but nothing came of it. His world turned upside down though in the spring of ’89 when longtime girlfriend Alannah Myles landed a recording contract with Atlantic. Myles was also featured on TIME STANDS STILL (her photo is on the album jacket if you look hard enough), and appeared with him in an episode of “Kids of Degrassi Street” in ’84. Ward served as executive producer and co-writer of the majority of herself-titled solo album with Dave Tyson, who also served as producer. Backed by the blockbuster “Black Velvet,” it went on to sell countless gazillions of copies worldwide and took home practically every award imaginable, making Ward a very wealthy man in the process for simply telling the story of Elvis. That song would also have a second life years later, when it was taken to number one on the country charts by Robin Lee.
Now cemented as one of the country’s top songwriting talents, he continues working with other artists to this day, including Myles’ follow up album ROCKINGHORSE, Diana Ross, The Backstreet Boys, Wynonna Judd, Amanda Marshall, Anne Murray, Tina Arena, Meredith Brooks, and Hilary Duff. In ’97 he joined Ming Tea, the tongue-in-cheek celebrity rock band assembled by Mike Myers and also featuring Matthew Sweet and The Bangles’ Susannah Hoffs. Together they performed the faux-60s songs “BBC and “Daddy Wasn’t There.”
For four seasons, he also wrote for the CTV series “Instant Star” (of which longtime songwriting partner Stephen Stohn served as executive producer) and the CBC’s “Degrassi Next Generation.” Ward also lent his expertise as a judge on YTV’s “The Next Star.”
In 2001, now married (not to Myles), Ward moved to Paris to work on outside projects, including writing a children’s novel, but has since returned to live in Toronto. He since became a board director for the Songwriters Association of Canada, while continuing to work with other artists and help develop new talent.