My crush on Colton Ford had nothing to do with his amazing body. It was his voice that caught my attention.
It was a hot summer night, and I was devouring an episode of the deliciously campy here TV gay vampire series The Lair, when Sheriff Trout (played by Ford) ambled into a scene, tossing out a few lines in a smoky, masculine voice. I was single at the time, and one glimpse of Ford -- a mature man with mega-watt sex appeal -- floored me.
Later, I learned about Ford's illustrious porn career and, most recently, about his prowess as a singer. Truth be told, I've yet to see one of the singer's adult films, preferring to hold on to my image of him as Sheriff Trout!
I recently caught up with the multi-talented renaissance man for a pre-Pride chat, to discuss his fabulous new dance single, "Let Me Live Again" (the full-length album, The Way I Am, drops June 18), and the equally fab music video for the song, directed by Marco Ovando. (A bit of kismet: The video has a sassy Tom of Finland theme, and I just completed a screenplay, working with filmmaker Flavio Alves on his flick Tom in America, which has a few Tom themes of its own.)
Scott Alexander Hess: I first saw you in The Lair, which I really enjoyed. Tell me about your initial transition from adult film to acting and music. Was music an original love that got set aside? I read that it was your first love. Did it redevelop later in life? What was the turning point when you decided it was full-force music?
Colton Ford: There never was a transition. I did adult films for 10 months, but I've been singing, writing music, acting, and performing all of my life. I was signed to acclaimed songwriter Denise Rich's production company and paired up with the godfather of house music, Frankie Knuckles, in 1992. I had two major label deals that decade, and I've been in numerous plays and musicals throughout the years. Even while I was doing porn, I was creating music and performing. After 10 months of doing adult films, I felt that I had gotten everything out of the experience I was going to get and had an opportunity to release new music and film a documentary about the whole process, so I took it.
Hess: How does one creative endeavor support or inspire the other? You do a lot: calendars, music, acting. Do you find they all inter-relate and feed each other? Also, does your adult film fan base (you are a mega-star, after all) help with your music, or can it be a drawback? (When Tom Ford released his film A Single Man, he initially faced a bit of backlash.)
Ford: It all enables me to explore my creative self. Music has always been my main passion, but I find acting and creating characters another way to express myself and also extremely satisfying. There is a contingency of people who can't see past my adult film work, and that's OK. There is still a stigma attached to doing porn, and I recognize and accept that. There is a greater population out there, though, that has been able to receive and embrace the other things that I do. I've studied, and I have a wealth of experience in the music/entertainment industry, and feel that my work stands on its own.
Hess: What is your focus for 2013: music, acting, or both? Have you considered getting back to musical theater, or maybe a biopic musical?
Ford: I've got my current Billboard-charting single out, "Let Me Live Again," and a video for the single that was directed by Marco Ovando. My full-length album, The Way I Am, is dropping on June 18 (iTunes pre-orders available June 4), a new TV series in development, and several other things up my sleeve that I'm exploring. Having been in an off-Broadway musical a year or so ago, I would love to do more, as I really enjoy it!
Hess: What moment of reckoning do you most recall from the past year, as in an intense moment of clarity that socked you in the gut?
Ford: "Moment of reckoning" is very dramatic. Last year was filled with many lessons and transitions. Suffice it to say that I've stayed in the work and have grown through all of my experiences, thankfully.
Ford: Regarding the recent adult film star suicides, it's just a very sad thing. I don't think it's necessarily a residual of their porn experience, but having that experience can exacerbate self-image and self-perception issues that someone may have had prior to getting into porn, or any part of the entertainment industry, really. When you receive accolades based in part or in whole on your image/looks, and the business you're in focuses so much attention on that part of you, it can distort things to the degree that can make it difficult to keep everything in perspective. Look at some of the mainstream stars out there really struggling! It makes me think of the cliché "don't judge a book by its cover." Someone may appear to have it all, or what we think of when we think of having it all, but we don't really know what's going on within the person, and where they're at in their process and evolution. When I got into porn, I was 39 years old, had nine years of therapy, and knew myself pretty well. I had been in the music business 19 years, had a thick skin, and knew the game and how to take care of myself in it. I've been very able to keep things in perspective and understand that it's all subjective. It's also a wonderful thing to have people around you who know you, love you, and can help keep you in check if necessary!