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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 5, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 27
Stretching the boundaries - Gay singer/actor Colton Ford is on the brink of mainstream success
Arts & Entertainment
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Stretching the boundaries - Gay singer/actor Colton Ford is on the brink of mainstream success

by Gary M. Kramer - SGN A&E Writer

Colton Ford has performed in TV shows (The Lair) and in cinema (Another Gay Movie), as well as in (ahem) adult films, but he is first and foremost a crooner. He performed in his high school choir and in dinner theater, and has sung jingles and in jazz quartets (High Society - they played Vegas, baby). Ford has also released several CDs, the latest of which, The Way I Am, is just out this month. He chatted recently with Seattle Gay News and even sang a little.

Gary M. Kramer: Your CD is titled The Way I Am. To me, this phrase is Colton Ford: I think I've always been authentic in what I'm doing and this album is a culmination of the 30 years I've been in the music business. It encompasses all of my musical styles. I'm rooted in R&B, funk, house, electronica, a little jazz, and some pop - all of the genres that speak to me. It's a more broad-based, mainstream record. Over the last 10 years, I've been growing my fan base beyond what was initially there and certainly have crossed over to reach a certain section of the straight community. I'd like to expand on that. This record is broader in its musical scope to be able to do that.

GMK: Let's talk about your image. Most folks know you from your porn career. I knew you from the documentary Naked Fame, which showed your efforts to (re)launch your music career. Do you feel you have to keep proving yourself? Do you think people are not able to accept you the way you are?

CF: I think there is a segment of the population that is going to have a difficulty seeing beyond my 10-month stint in adult films. It's just an impactful image and there is still a lot that people attach to it - good, bad, and everything in between. I do feel that there's a broader audience out there that isn't as distracted and can see the other things I have been doing in my life. I'm provocative in my nature, and certainly know that that reaches and affects people. I've tried to use that in a more sophisticated and specific way. But I think every artist struggles with being deemed credible until they sell one million units. It's just one of those things. Once you get to that stature, you're more able to leverage those things.

GMK: How are you provocative?

CF: There are nuances in my video that I think are more erotic. In our society, we automatically attach that to the female and not the male. When it's the male [being sexy] it's got to be something more homoerotic because straight guys don't put themselves out there that way. I don't think my videos are that scandalous. It's more reflective of the viewer.

GMK: What about your cover art? You went for staid, not sexy. Was that deliberate? Are you trying to change your image?

CF: I think the theme underneath this whole album is you're getting something you're not expecting. That's not to say that those people who have been following my music wouldn't expect this, but part of the impact of my past and putting out this music is unexpected, and more serious. And that's what we wanted for the cover of the album. This [art] is from a whole series. There's a shot of me in bed, naked, but it's like a bust [indicates 'chest up' with his hands]. It's a beautiful shot. But I've had my shirt off before, so how about having something more refined, more sophisticated - and focus the attention more on the music? In the videos we can play with the skin and the sexuality and all that kind of good stuff - which we are doing.

GMK: I like you being sophisticated and serious but also playful. What can you say about how your identity has evolved as your career has?

CF: As with anyone getting older, the more life experience affects them and changes them. The whole creative experience is always volatile. ... I take my work seriously, but I have a better ability - I've fine-tuned my skills - to not be as reactive to things I ultimately don't have control over. I pick my battles, and I think one of the things that challenges almost every artist is patience. ... This album was supposed to be out a year ago, but if this album came out a year ago, I wouldn't have the track 'Alone.'

GMK: That's my favorite song on the CD! What is your process with writing songs?

CF: I try and go into writing sessions open, and let the track and moment guide me. Usually I start tapping into a melody, and the lyrics pop through, but sometimes I'll go in with an idea of what I want to say and let it develop from there. Lyrically, some songs reflect my experiences [while] others are just my observations or reflect my perspective or view of things - putting myself in someone else's shoes. Others come from my imagination. The styles range accordingly. I think that the two ballads, 'Alone' and 'All My Love,' give additional dimension to the record, making it broader musically. You've got 'Get to You,' which is a Gap Band/Dazz Band inspired track, and then you have 'Realize,' which is giving you pop, but with a California vibe.

GMK: So what music do you listen to?

CF: Rufus and Chaka Khan, Al Green, Luther Vandross, and Olivia Newton-John - yes, I am a Gay man!

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