The youngest of six children, Lucy Ward grew up in Littleover, Derbyshire. She went to St Peter's Junior School in Littleover, and Littleover Community School. She started playing guitar and wrote her first song at the age of 14, and soon afterwards performed live for the first time. After performing at open mic nights across the Midlands she put her name forward for the BBC Young Folk Awards at the age of 18, and two years later signed a contract with Navigator Records.
On Adelphi Has to Fly, which is produced by Stu Hanna from Megson, Lucy Ward is accompanied by Sam Pegg, Belinda O'Hooley and Heidi Tidow from O'Hooley & Tidow and by Debbie and Stu Hanna.
The songs on the album include: "Stitch in Time" by Mike Waterson; "Maids When You're Young", a traditional song which was popularised by The Dubliners; Child ballad "The Two Sisters"; and "Death (Rock Me to Sleep)", based on a poem said to have been written by Anne Boleyn, set to a tune by Lucy Ward. "Alice in the Bacon Box", a song written by Ward in the style of a traditional folk song, tells the story of Derbyshire hermit Alice Grace (1867–1927) from Little Eaton who, on being evicted from her cottage, lived in a box previously used for storing bacon, which had been given to her by the local butcher.
The album was critically acclaimed and received a four-starred review in The Guardian.
On 7 August 2013, in a concert at St Pancras Old Church, London, she launched her second album, Single Flame. Produced by Stu Hanna, it was released by Navigator Records on 19 August 2013. The album includes "For the Dead Men", a self-penned protest song, which was released as a single in January 2012 coupled with a remixed version of "Maids When You’re Young". This was again produced by Stu Hanna, who also performs on the two tracks, with his wife Debbie Hanna providing backing vocals.
In a four-starred review for The Guardian, Robin Denselow said that Lucy Ward "proves to be an even more mature and thoughtful singer-songwriter than she was on Adelphi Has to Fly" and described her follow-up album as "impressive and original" and "a brooding, often angry set that deals with everything from politics to love, death and personal tragedy, with a couple of powerful traditional songs added in".
Her third album, I Dreamt I Was a Bird, was released by Betty Beetroot Records on 2 October 2015. It received a four-starred review in The Daily Telegraph and was awarded Album Of The Year 2015 by Fatea magazine.
Lucy Ward's music has been used as the soundtrack for award-winning director Kim Hopkins' documentary film Folie à Deux – madness made of two. The film soundtrack uses "For the Dead Men", some new original material and some cover songs played by Lucy Ward and Hungarian fiddle player Barnabas Balázs. The film, which shows the human cost of the banking crisis, premiered in November 2012 at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam and was broadcast on BBC Four in its Storyville international documentary series on 11 November 2013.
Lucy Ward was commissioned by BBC Radio 3's The Verb to write a song based on Elizabeth Gaskell's novel North and South. Her live performance of her new song "Creatures and Demons" was included in a special programme on Mrs Gaskell, broadcast on 3 October 2014.
Lucy Ward has also written songs and music for Robin Hood by the touring theatre company Oddsocks.
She has performed and recorded with the Cupola trio (Doug Eunson, Sarah Matthews and Oli Matthews) as Cupola:Ward, releasing in 2012 the EP Four and, in 2016, a debut album, Bluebell.
She provided vocals on one of the tracks – "Gospel of the Sun" – on David Gibb's 2011 album There Are Birds in My Garden and on a track – "There's a Dragon in My Bedroom" – on Gibb's 2014 album Letters Through Your Door. She also provided backing vocals on three of the tracks on Marc Block's album The Hawthorn Spring, released on 15 April 2014. Her vocals also appear on the 2015 Mills and Chimneys album The Common Thread.
Lucy Ward was a Young Folk Award finalist in the 2009 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards where she performed "Stitch in Time" by Mike Waterson. The song was included on the third CD of the album BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2009 and a longer recording appeared on her 2011 album Adelphi Has to Fly.
In the 2012 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards she won the Horizon award (for best newcomer). Her recording of "Maids When You’re Young", which was subsequently included on the first CD of the album BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2012, was nominated as best traditional track.
In 2014 she was nominated for the "Folk Singer of the Year" award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Her recording, from Single Flame, of the Roud 1302 song "Marching Through the Green Grass", was included on the album BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2014.
Lucy Ward lives in Mickleover, Derbyshire. She has a black belt at tae kwon-do and has taught martial arts.