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Thursday, December 26, 2013

LaLa Brooks Blabs It to Beaverhausen!

Here's the link to my Exclusive Q&A with LaLa Brooks at Leave It to Beaverhausen. LaLa was the lead singer of Phil Spector's classic '60s girl group, The Crystals, and she just released a new solo album. This interview will also appear at Queens Our City Radio!

//djbuddybeaverhausen.blogspot.com/2013/12/exclusive-q-with-la-la-brooks-of.html

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Talk to the Rohan: Exclusive Q&A with Producer Rohan Tarry

It was my pleasure to have the opportunity ~ arranged via Barbara Sobel ~ to interview dance music producer (and English gentleman) Rohan Tarry. In a world that may, sometimes, seem full of "cookie cutter" music producers, Mr Tarry is a discriminating, individualistic and sometimes eclectic, frequently brilliant independent figure in the business. Ten years ago, Rohan Tarry was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and he speaks frankly about it here and its impact on his musicianship. This is a remarkable interview I hope you will read and share. 


Dj Buddy Beaverhausen: Hello, Rohan and happy holidays to you and your family. Do you have any special plans for celebrating this time of year?  
Rohan Tarry: Thanks, and season's greetings to you and yours. Some quiet local family time in Bristol is the order on Xmas day. Between Xmas and New Year, it'll be catching up with some friends, then a trip to my mum's magical place on Dartmoor for some Devon family time deep in the tranquil English countryside. Oh, and Xmas coffee aplenty. Coffee where the milk and sugar is replaced with Baileys Irish Cream. Mmmm..... 

DBB: Sounds good to me. You're a life-long resident of Bristol, UK. What were your musical influences growing up there? 
RT: I grew up in Exeter (a small provincial city in SW England) but the Bristol music scene has been hugely important to me since I first lived here back in '89. The emergence of the "Bristol sound" at the turn of the '90's taking on influences from early dance music, hip-hop and reggae (i.e., Portishead + Massive Attack) ticked all the boxes for me and opened my ears to different ways of making music. 

DBB:  When did you know you wanted to work in the music industry? 
RT: I was fascinated by it at school but they steered me towards a scientific career. It wasn't till I was working as a medical biochemist in a hospital lab in the early 90's that I really thought I could give it a go. Started by playing flute with house DJ's, something I did throughout the 90's with some of the biggest names in British clubland. Doing an evening course in music tech in about '92 introduced me to using computers to make music. Back then it was an Atari ST and Cubase v.2 but I was hooked by the idea. I started my first studio kind of by accident. I found somewhere to put my home studio which happened to be in a building which included some rehearsal rooms. Before I knew it I was running a commercial studio! 


DBB: Pretty amazing! Tell us about RexKwondo and what you have on your professional plate right now that we can look forward to. 
RT: RexKwondo is a project with my long-term finest friend and hugely talented musician, Tony 'T-Bone' Psarelis. It started with us just hanging out in the studio, sharing our love of electronic influenced music from the 80's forward. Before long, we both realized that we had a lot in common musically and started writing together. It was never our intention to sound like anyone else except perhaps in touches of our influences. A particular shared love of Tears For Fears and their use of synths and more traditional instruments to craft ace songs undoubtedly had an impact. The way we write is, I think, somewhat unique in our approach to sound sources, whether it's a synth, guitar, vocals, samples (from the thousands of random records in the studio), strings or woodwind and brass. If it feels right to us we use it or play it. Okay, so it means we've never quite fitted with whatever the musical zeitgeist is but hey, being like everyone else is overrated. We've had to scale things back as MS has impacted more heavily on me which means our, at best times slow, work-rate has diminished somewhat. As a result this year we plan to release some stuff, like Kamikaze Love, that we feel got overlooked in the past but also have a number of new songs we're working on which will get an airing in '14. 

DBB: I understand that Sobel Nation recently remixed a charity record you did. Could you talk to us about that? 
RT: MS has had an increasingly detrimental effect on me in the 10 years since diagnosis. The studio is my refuge from it. Music is the finest therapy I know. When locked in and making music, the troubles of the outside world, and largely my failing health, disappear. The worst thing is that as MS has gotten hold of me, my ability to play instruments and put in the hours required to keep it running have been impaired to the point where I can no longer afford it. This came up in conversation with the charming Barbara Sobel to which she said "..I can do something about that...'" The idea to do a charity record to help support me came straight from her beautiful, caring mind. The response, and it's swiftness, frankly bowled me over! To have such great people as Coco Star (providing an ace vocal), Guru Josh Proiect and Mike Jolly onboard from the getgo is rather humbling. Tony and I have been working on a RexKwondo mix too so it should be a fabulous package


DBB: What do you think about the state of dance music today?

RT: "Dance music" has become, over the last 20 years, such a fragmented genre that is seems somewhat incongruous to talk about it as one thing. Throughout this time, it has come to be a staple of the global music scene. There is so much variety of style that it's become a raft of genres in their own right. Across the board there is good and bad, as with any music. There is now so much out there that we really rely more than ever on good DJ's with decent quality filters to help discern which deserves our attention. 

DBB: I was listening to your work with Tara Busch and Maf Lewis as Dynamo Dresden (album available at iTunes). Very soothing, beautifully composed and dreamy. Fair to say, I don't think this was produced with big room peak hour in mind. What sound or genre were you working in; who do you think would be the ideal audience for Dynamo Dresden? I see the term "trip-hop" is used on the Soundcloud page (where one can hear these marvelous tracks). And are those dolphins I hear sampled in the mix on some tracks or is it all electronic?

RT: The Dynamo Dresden album, Remember, is something I'm really proud of. Working with such a towering vocal talent as Tara Busch and the inimitable force of nature that is Maf Lewis was, mostly, a true privilege. It was always very much a post-club sound we were going for. "Trip-hop" is just the genre that had the closest fit and people like to attach such labels . We were happy to let the DJ remixers do what they're best at and provide some proper dancefloor mixes although we often toughened the sound in live performance. The "dolphin" sounds are a mixture of synth and Tara playing a theremin. 


DBB: How did RexKwondo and Dynamo Dresden get their names?

RT: Deciding on band names is always something of a challenge. In the end, I've found the only way is to go for something that rolls off the tongue nicely. Dynamo Dresden were named after an East German soccer team that Maf was a fan of. RexKwondo came after a number of poor names which I won't afflict on you. It had become rather a sticking point but one night in the studio after a couple of glasses of wine and some combustible comestibles we watched the marvelous Napoleon Dynamite and there it was. 

DBB: What was the first song you ever produced?

RT: This is a tough question as I've been at it so long! I bought a cassette 4-track at 18 which would have been my first attempts. I think only my mum has copies of that stuff which is just one more reason, of many, to always be nice to my mum! Have worked with all kinds of people over the years from Motorhead to Kylie Minogue and everything in between. Probably the best known thing is a track I produced in about 2001for a DJ friend of mine, Jean Jacques Smoothie, called "2 People." 

DBB: Rohan, thank you for your time and effort in answering these questions. Is there anything you'd like to shout out to our readers around the world that perhaps I didn't cover? Wishing you a very happy New Year!

RT: Thanks for asking me. Very excited about the forthcoming charity single. Becoming part of the Sobel Family has helped me turn '14 from what looked rather bleak into a much more potentially chirpy and bright year. Tony and I have found a way of working remotely, me in the studio in Bristol and him in London, which should help ensure there's plenty RexKwondo to come. Happy New Year to you all and may '14 bring you love and happiness by the bucket load!

 


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Queens Our City Radio Exclusive Q&A with the One & Only Martha Wash

Martha Wash is truly one of our legendary divas of dance music and, in my opinion, one of our finest female vocalists. In my exclusive Q&A with Ms Wash, she discusses her career, her new single ("It's My Time"), her latest album, Something Good (which is amazing) and much more.


Dj Buddy Beaverhausen: Hello, Ms Wash, and thank you for talking to me and everyone out here at Our City Radio. How was your Thanksgiving?
Martha Wash: Thank you very much for having me. My Thanksgiving was fine. I just relaxed the whole day. Texted my family and friends.

DBB: I mostly want to talk about your latest album, Something Good, which has been one of my faves of the year and is so inspirational. It's perfect music for the holiday season. But first, I've always been curious as to your work with Sylvester. Specifically, did you know Izora Rhodes beforehand or were you first put together as Two Tons of Fun?
MW: Izora and I used to sing in a gospel group called N.O.W. Singers (News of the World). We also sang in different community choirs that would have musicals together. I brought her in to audition for Sylvester when he wanted another large singer.



DBB: How does it feel to be a true survivor? To have sung through decades of music (mostly dance) as a solo artist and the voice of The Weather Girls, C&C Music Factory, Black Box, etc.?
MW: I'm just thankful that I'm still here to be able to perform for people and that they still enjoy hearing me. I'm amazed that it's been so many years. Time goes by really quickly.



DBB: Isn't that the truth? Martha, I think most people reading the Our City internet network will agree you are one of the great, influential voices throughout our lives. Was there ever a low point for you that you felt you'd quit the business and maybe do something else?
MW: I thought about quitting a few times over the decades. When I thought about what I would do in its place, I couldn't really come up with anything, so here I am still singing!



DBB: Something Good is well titled. Whose idea was it to name the album?
MW: My manager (James Washington) and I were going back and forth between Something Good and It's My Time. I liked both titles. We decided on Something Good because it encompasses all the songs on the album. Each song is something good.



DBB:Yes, every tack! On this album, you do an amazing job covering Aerosmith's "Dream On," the penultimate track. Now, I wouldn't ordinarily think of you doing this song, yet you do a boffo job of it! How did this all come about for you?
MW: James said I needed to record a cover song. I didn't want to necessarily. He started looking into some classic songs and came up with "Dream On." I knew the song and had liked it so I said okay, let's try it. I think it came out pretty good. We wanted to remain true to the song, but put my twist to it. 


DBB: "Pretty good" is an understatement in my opinion. Is there any song on Something Good that was particularly personal for you? And why was that?
MW: No, there's no particular one. Within all of these songs, at different points in my life I've experienced the good, bad, hope, disillusion, faith, loss, love, acceptance. I'm sure a lot of people who listen to the album could identify.


DBB:"It's My Time" actually brings tears to my eyes because it's so edifying and close to my heart. Plus it has a dancefloor touch to it. Might we ever hear mixes of this one?
MW: We have released remixes of "It's My Time" produced by DJ's Papercha$ers. Great mixes that everyone should check out. Everybody wanted remixes of the songs, so we're doing them a little at a time. They'll be more in 2014.



DBB: Martha, what music influenced you growing up?
MW: I grew up listening to gospel music only. That was the only music allowed in my house. When I became a teenager, I had a small radio that I would put under my pillow and listen to rock groups and the Motown artists. Aretha Franklin was my #1 favorite. 



DBB: Any shout-outs to your LGBT fans at Queens Our City Radio and my Blab It to Beaverhausen blog?
MW: I'd just like to thank them all for supporting me over the years and that I love them all. It's great to know that we're all still here!



DBB: You probably won't remember this, but we shared an awkward moment after your performance at BB King's NYC. You agreed to a pic of my kissing you on the cheek but my friend had issues getting my cell to take the photos. Consequently, my lips were on your cheek uncomfortably long. You called out, very diva-like: "work it!" And he did! How do you put up with fans like us?
MW: [Laughs] It doesn't bother me. It's part of the job. I don't have a problem meeting my fans, I welcome it. As long as everyone is respectful of each other, I'm fine.



DBB: Ms Wash, we wish you a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and much more music to come from one of the great singers of our times. We are so grateful to your doing this Q&A. Any last words you'd like to add?
MW: I'd just like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a healthy, prosperous, loving, blessed New Year. I'm asking my fans to support me again with this album, Something Good, and the "It's My Time" Remixes by going to Amazon, ITunes and CdBaby. Indie Artists need all the support they can get. Hit me up on Facebook at www.themarthawash.com or @Martha_Wash on Twitter and let me know what you think.
Thanks so much again for this time.

Below, the official "It's My Time" video:

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/MZf928oAqZc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Australian Interview with Dj Buddy B (link)

This time I'm on the other side of a Q&amp;A and it was a refreshing change of pace to be the one answering the questions, humbly under my real name.

Crystal Kalyana Crawford is a writer, blogger and has Facebook Groups on Joan, Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn and Barbara Stanwyck. She is currently working on a new biography on Joan Crawford. It is Joan who is the subject of our interview, as she is one of my preoccupations because, at a certain level, I identify with her legendary on-screen persona.

Here, then, is the link to our Q&amp;A:

http://crystalcrawfordblog.wordpress.com/2013/12/01/interview-with-joan-crawford-fan-charles-truenski/


Christmas Q&A with Sheena Rose, Gypsy Love & Leo Frappier


My first menage-a-talk! Bay Area's fabulous performers Sheena Rose, Gypsy Love and producer Leo Frappier are in the Christmas spirit with a new song, "Just Can't Wait"! Who said there's a war on Christmas? These three wise people tell us otherwise in my exclusive interview. Again, kudos to Barbara Sobel for arranging our awesome foursome!

Dj Buddy Beaverhausen: Hey, gang! How was your Thanksgiving/Hanukkah holiday?
Sheena Rose: It was wonderful, I had a chance to finally meet, and share my niece's first Thanksgiving with her. My dad and brother made a deep fried Cajun turkey, and that was a first for me. We all have busy schedules, so getting to spend Thanksgiving with them was very special.
Gypsy Love: Wonderful, thank you!
Leo Frappier: Great, thank you. It was simple and quiet which was a nice respite. Gets us ready for the mad rush of the December holidays!

DBB: You have a Christmas single out, "Just Can't Wait (til Christmas)." Is it true that you just can't wait?
GL: Yes! It's one of my favorite times of the year. Family, friends, and lots of performing.
LF: We truly love Christmas, the lights, the tree, the presents. It can get stressful mid-month getting everything done, but in the end it’s always lovely
SR: Yes. I love Christmas songs, movies, presents, lights, and decorations. Christmas truly is a special time of the year where you get to celebrate with family, and friends. 

DBB: I love listening to this number! It has a sort of rockabilly flavor to it, I thought. How did this all come about and how long ago was this song written? Recorded?
SR: It's a cover of a really obscure 2005 song by RuPaul. I always loved the song and thought it would be a great addition in my shows and something for the fans. I really love the way it turned out, I put my own stamp on it while still keeping it pretty much true to the original.
LF: Sheena had this great idea to cover this campy RuPaul song from a few years back. She gave it her own spin. She asked about the gospel backing vocalists and I told her that Gypsy Love has the power and soul to track all the parts and create a mini-gospel choir. And Gypsy nailed it!
GL: I was invited to be a featured vocalist by Sheena Rose and Leo Frappier. Leo and I have collaborated on many successful singles, like "Beautiful Thing", "Gypsy of Love", and "Wish", and I've seen Sheena perform around San Francisco and have always liked her style. When they approached me to do vocals on this Christmas track, I couldn't resist.

DBB: Tell us, who live in other parts of the country and throughout the world, what Christmas in San Francisco is like.
GL: Christmas in San Francisco is sparkly, gay, and full of play!
SR: Union Square is the center of all things Christmas in San Francisco, From the Holiday Ice Skating Ring, to the Huge Christmas tree in the center of Union Square overlooking the many fancy holiday window displays, and fancily decorated hotel lobbies. My favorite window display however has to be the SF SPCA holiday windows at Macy's. They feature adoptable shelter cats and dogs that will just melt your heart.
LF: Well firstly it does get cold, and you have to bundle up to stay warm outside. But it doesn’t snow, or at least very very rarely. The downtown Union Square area is already lit up with lights and trees. They go all out!

DBB: Any live gigs set up for the holiday season? And will you be singing your new Christmas song at them?
SR: Yes, you can see me perform my new Christmas song at Aunt Charlies Lounge on December 7th, 11th, 13th, and the 21st.
GL: This time of year is always filled with the most private party performances. Holiday parties are a blast. I'm especially excited to perform for all the major SF Pride sponsors at their annual Holiday event December 17th. As a Main Stage headliner at this year's SF Pride, I look forward to celebrating the holidays with a performance that honors the spirit of SF Pride and the philanthropic warmth of our city.

DBB: How do you plan to spend Christmas?
LF: Well, we’re starting to decorate the house, and will stay local and just send out some Christmas cards to those out of town.
SR: I'll be here in San Francisco with my husband and family. I'll be eating great food, and getting lots of great presents, because I'm spoiled that way.
GL: Family, friends, food, and fun times shimmying with my fellow love makers.

DBB: What's your personal favorite holiday song or carol ~ ~ outside of "Just Can't Wait"?
GL: Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas." Gets me shaking and shimmying every time.
SR: "Santa Baby" by Eartha Kitt is the quintessential showgirls' Christmas song.
LF: Well I do confess to love both of the Glee Christmas albums. Festive, always.

DBB: Besides chestnuts roasting on an open fire, what helps to make your season bright?
LF: A turkey and some mistletoe
SR: Family, friends, and my fans.
GL: Making Love.

DBB: Any New Year's Resolutions for 2014?
SR: I have a few upcoming song projects next year. I also plan to perform more outside of San Francisco, and hopefully around the country to promote my other two singles "Make Me Over" and "Queen of Clubs"
GL: I don't believe in taking something away at the New Year. I believe in adding something. This year, I plan to continue the love with new Dance music collaborations, and also experiment with a ballad that's been brewing in my heart.
LF: To keep on making some great music for everybody

DBB: What do you like to add to your egg nog?
LF: I used to like eggnog, but if I go for something like this, it’d be Bailey’s or good brandy.
SR: Brandy, rum, and bourbon. I like it to have a nice kick!
GL: A dash of Love...oh, and Brandy!
DBB: I hope you all enjoy the holiday season. Stay safe, warm, healthy & happy! Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!
LF: You as well!!
GL: You too!
SR: Happy holidays to all!

Exclusive Queens Our City Radio Interview with Inaya Day


Inaya Day is an amazing vocalist who, for the past 25 years or so has been featured on no less than 12 Billboard dance hits, half of those being #1s, as well as Top Tens in the UK, Australia and internationally! She is an accomplished songwriter and has sung and/or written gospel, musical theater, jazz, hip-hop, pop and R&B. She has also backed up the likes of Missy Elliott, Queen Latifah, Ultra Nate and many more. Music is her passion, her life, her love, her way of life and I am grateful that she graciously consented to do the following Q&A with me for Queens Our City Radio. Special thanks to Queens Our City Radio Manager, Barbara Sobel, for arranging this Q&A. ~ Dj Buddy Beaverhausen

Dj Buddy Beaverhausen: Greetings from Our City Radio, Ms Day. It is a true pleasure to interview you!
Inaya Day: Thank you! It's a pleasure to be interviewed!

DBB: You are the hardest working club-music diva in the industry! It seems like everyone (understandably) wants to work with you. How many Billboard dance hits have you been featured on as lead vocalist to date?
ID: This summer, my song, MAKE SOME NOISE, marked my 12th Top ten billboard dance hit. I'm lucky and blessed to have six #1's within those 12. I surely won't complain.

DBB: I just want to say, I have been a huge fan of your dance music but was just blown away when I discovered your jazz rendition of the Gershwins' "Summertime" (from Porgy & Bess) live in Germany on YouTube! How did this all come about? (ps., you looked great in that tailored gown!)
ID: Why, thank you! And thank you for noticing that the dress was tailored! I'd auditioned for CATS here in New York. The audition was run by Arlene Phillips, judge from Britain's SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE, to name just one of her many credits. She told me that she had a musical that she wanted me to do in Germany right then! I declined to leave within the next two days but, after I finished a Euro tour with the Harlem Gospel singers and an industrial gig in Belgium, I was driven to Germany, joined the cast of BROADWAY: Dusseldorf, and sang SUMMERTIME in the second act.


DBB: That's marvelous! Now, you've written for Bootsie Collins, Randy Crawford and Missy Elliott, among others. Obviously an accomplished songwriter in your own right, please tell us about your musical background.
ID: Much of my family sings. We're all from the Baptist church. The first place my mom took me as a newborn was to church and I've been there ever since. Gospel is my background and musical foundation. I became a musical theater performer at the age of 12 and am still a card-carrying member of the Actor's Equity Association.

DBB: Who were your musical influences growing up? And could you share with us what your childhood was like?
ID: Growing up, my musical influences were The Clark Sisters, The Hawkins' Family, The Richard Smallwood Singers, Chaka Khan, and Ella Fitzgerald. When I was a kid, there was always music in my house. My older sister played music all the time, and once my mom bought me a stereo, that was IT! Music Music Music! We often went to my mom's sister's house where i'd listen to my cousin rehearse with his band all night. This band later became known as the Gold+ Selling act, SKYY, who made songs like CALL ME, and LET'S CELEBRATE....and they weren't the only ones I'd hear rehearsing in my Aunt's basement; Cameo, Brass Construction, and some others filled my ears with live music, as well. Music was and has been a permanent fixture in my life.

DBB:  Barbara Sobel informs me you have hot, new single out right now called "Rock This Party." Could you tell us more about it? What was your inspiration for the song and the video?
ID: Well, there's a festival in Melbourne, Australia called MidSumma. A while back, Nick Jay, an Aussie DJ, sent me a track and the first thing that came to me was the hook, "miiiiid summmmmmer, no better feelin' than this".  I'd performed there and had gotten such a warm welcome, I guess I was still on a high and wanted to write about it. That was almost two years ago and we never released it. This year, the MidSumma folks licensed it as their theme song, which is pretty cool.

DBB: Your house music career began in the mid '90s in Europe with "Keep Pushin'" and "Horny." What brought you abroad to do these fabulous, now-classic numbers?
ID: Musical theater took me to Germany. One of my directors introduced me to Boris Dlugosch. At the studio with Boris, I met Mousse T. We made KEEP PUSHIN'. That hit worldwide. We followed up with HOLD YOUR HEAD UP HIGH. That hit worldwide. Then, we did HORNY. That song mega hit so I figured I'd be in house music for the long haul.

DBB: And your fans, including me, are thrilled you decided that! You then went on to do the groundbreaking "Movin' Up" with the great producer, Mike Cruz and your good friend, Tichina Arnold (as China Ro). Many of us best know Ms Arnold for her work on tv's Martin, Everybody Hates Chris and in the musical film, Little Shop of Horrors. Why did she record under an alias? And how did you two come to be friends?
ID: Tichina recorded under an alias for the same reason that I did in the beginning. We were both from other genres of music and, at that time, one would do well not to cross the lines. Tichina and I went to the same high school. We sang in the same gospel chorus and sometimes, she'd ask me to walk her to the bank so she could deposit a "big check" from one of her acting jobs. We became thick as thieves.

DBB:  What was it like to work with Mike Cruz?
ID: It's awesome to work with Mike Cruz! It's like making music with my brother! I truly adore his talent AND his person! He's never produced a track for me that I didn't like!

DBB: In your long string of dance songs, which one is your personal favorite?
ID: I guess if I had to choose, I'd choose KEEP PUSHIN' because it's my first.

DBB: Give us your view of the state of the club music industry today.
ID: The state of the club music industry is alive and well but the plight of the true club music maker is bleak. Pop stars are now singing the up tempo music that club music makers usually do, so it makes it harder for the ones who are making true club music to shine through. What they label as club music, which is really pop, has infiltrated the club chart. So the industry is thriving but its true artists struggle to be considered.

DBB: Did you know Lonnie Gordon is currently recording a cover version of "Horny" in the UK? Any opinions?
ID: No, I didn't know that. Someone has recorded KEEP PUSHIN', too! I think it's great. I've re-recorded other artists' tunes, myself. I count it a blessing that my songs are being chosen... especially if they're songs that I've written and published. 

DBB: I'm sure you're aware of your international, adoring LGBT fan base. What would you like to say to them?
ID: Thank you for your support and LOYALTY!

DBB: Is there anyone you've worked with and thought, afterwards, "never again?" Could you share with us anything about that type of professional experience?
ID: YES! It was actually an UNprofessional experience. One producer I worked with had absolutely NO knowledge of music whatsoever. He didn't know what unison, harmony, stacking, key signatures, octaves, etc meant. Nothing. Working with him was like running outside but somehow ending up back in the house again,,,,,over and over....just an exercise in futility. Taking instruction from him was impossible and being put in that position by my A&R was insulting and frustrating. Never again.

DBB: Thank you so much, Inaya Day, for your time and attention. We look forward to the hot, new remixes of "Rock This Party" coming up from Sobel Nation. Are there any last shouts out to your fans, friends, family?
ID: Yes! Thank you for all of the awesome, positive energy and Happy Holidays!!!!!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

An Incredible Journey with Fredrick Ford As He Blabs It to Beaverhausen


It is such a special privilege for me to conduct an interview with dance-music artist, Frederick Ford.  He will take us on an incredible journey, be assured, of his life from white-collar Wall Street to go-go boy to porn star to Billboard-charting dance-music artist. A powerhouse combination of beauty, brains and talent, here is my exclusive Q&A with Fredrick Ford:

Dj Buddy Beaverhausen:  Fredrick, thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview. As you know, I recently did a Q&A with Janice Robinson and you mentioned to me, prior to this interview, you did a show with her last year. Could you tell us more about that and about other divas of note you've opened for and worked with? Plus, this being Blab It, any divas you wouldn't want to work with ever again (even if not by name)?

Fredrick Ford: First off, thank you very much for taking the time to talk.  Janice and I performed last year at Shep Pettibone's Paradise Nightclub in Asbury Park, NJ.  She and I have worked with a lot of the same people in the past, so it was terrific to get a chance to connect and get to know one another.  She's such a talent and is also a very sweet, grounded person.

Over the years, I've gotten the chance to open for some incredible "divas," including headlining Southern Decadence with Deborah Cox as well as opening for Kimberly Locke, Ultra Nate, Jeanie Tracy and Pepper Mashay.  Each of them was wonderful to me and gave great performances.

I have, however, witnessed two major 'diva' meltdowns over the years, and they weren't pretty.  I mostly feel bad for the hard working producers and staff who have to endure the wrath of someone who is clearly disconnected from what's "real" in life.  Is the fact that your bottled water has a label on it worth berating another human being for five minutes?

The only time I encountered a problem was when I was scheduled to open for a diva who was known for her two major hits from the late-90's.  She was attempting a comeback that year, and we had been booked to headline a Pride celebration together.  Moments before showtime, she suddenly demanded that she go on FIRST and open the show, claiming she had to jet off to another engagement and couldn't miss her flight.

The producers were shocked--especially since they'd paid a lot of money for a large penthouse hotel suite for her that evening! 

The drag queen MC introduced her, and she sang her first hit from the 90's-- then two cover songs.  She ended with her new single, and the crowd was surprised when she said "Goodnight!" and ran offstage.  Thinking she would obviously come back to do her second big hit as an encore, everyone started chanting the name of that song.

That's when I looked over and witnessed her getting into our limo, slamming the door and driving off into the night!  The MC saw it too.  She gave me a deer-in-the-headlights look and took the stage to address the chanting crowd. 

The MC said "Do you want to hear [her] other big hit?"  Everyone started cheering and going crazy with anticipation.  She then said "Well, then...DOWNLOAD IT ON iTUNES!  Ladies and gentlemen...here is Fredrick Ford!!"

The crowd audibly gasped at the rude drag queen as I entered the stage.  And talk about a lousy introduction! 

Thankfully, I won the crowd over and the show went great.  What shocked me more, though, was when I ran into the 'diva' at a restaurant later that night! She whispered to me "Oh, I just didn't feel like performing, so I lied to the producers about having to leave town and got out of there as quickly as possible."

I truly love my fans and am so grateful for their love and support.  Sharing the experience of music is what I love most, and I cannot understand being that selfish. 

DBB: Oh, my God! Well, let's talk green, shall we? Cabs, I mean. We've socially networked about this, Fredrick, and my understanding is you're not a green-cab fan. But I love the color and they work the boroughs! (Although, however, I must say I only ever see them in Manhattan.) Please share your aesthetic opinion about these taxis with our readers (but remember it's not easy being green).

FF: [Laughs]  I had posted a picture on Facebook of the first green NYC taxi I'd ever seen, and I got quite a response!  To me, there are certain iconic things about New York that you'd never think would change.  Yellow taxis are one of them.  I had no idea the MTA had rolled-out green cabs, so my comment was more in shock than anything else.  Over time, I guess I'll learn to appreciate them.  Kermit was right -- it's not easy being green!

DBB: You have a BFA in Theater with a concentration in Business and Marketing, and you graduated Cum Laude. You then were working on Wall Street before deciding to become a go-go boy by night. Why did you do that? And what was it like leading a "double life" in a sense?

FF: By the time I graduated college, I had a huge amount of college loans to pay back.  I landed a job on Wall Street for that reason alone -- acting and theatre jobs wouldn't pay my bills.  Back then, if you wanted to record a professional demo to submit to record labels, you had to hire a professional producer and studio, which cost $100/hour.  A song typically takes anywhere from 20-30 hours to write/record/ master, and I didn't have a lot of disposable income.

That's when a friend who danced told me about (the late) promoter Marc Berkley holding auditions at the Tunnel nightclub.  He hired me on the spot, and soon I was working the circuit at night, making extra money to be in the recording studio.  Someday, I'll write a tell-all book about those experiences -- it was a crazy time.

There used to be a club in midtown that had "cocktail hours" with go-go boys.  On the days I got booked, I only had minutes to rush there after my day-job.  During the day, I was always paranoid that my briefcase would fly open and my boots, baby oil and g-strings would fall out during a business meeting! The club's promoters were equally surprised to see me walk in looking so corporate, then moments later be on stage all oiled-up.

It was kind of like Clark Kent walking into a phonebooth... only I came out wearing a lot less clothing!

DBB: [Laughs.] How and when did you get sleep during that time of your life, for crying out loud?

FF: Funny you should ask!  It wasn't easy.  However, I was experiencing so many exciting things and meeting such interesting people that I never gave it a second thought.  I've always been driven, and having the focus of pursuing my dream of a music career was what kept me going through all those late-nights.

DBB: You quit your white-collar job and segued into being an underground star in the gay adult film-and-magazine industry. What made you think this was a good idea? I mean, was it faith in yourself or just a wild leap into the blue?

FF: It was a calculated leap into the unknown. When I was go-go dancing, Chi Chi LaRue and Chuck (the founder of Falcon) cornered me backstage one night and literally shouted at me: "YOU WERE MADE TO DO PORN!"  I laughed it off and told them "no, it'll ruin my career!"

I finally reached a place where everything was clicking for me musically, but I was just another unknown male singer among thousands trying to get a record deal.  It was then that I realized: 'if I HAD a career for it to ruin, that would be a good thing!' 

I thought: 'If I could begin making a name for myself within the gay community and build a fan base with the all the press, I could hopefully then market my music to them!'

I threw caution (and all my clothing) to the wind and made the leap. I had resisted doing it for so long, despite the universe presenting it to me over and over and over again. When I finally listened to that inner-voice that said it was right, everything changed in my life.

I booked my first movie within hours of submitting my pictures, and I became very in-demand among the studios.  A lot of press and award nominations followed, and within months, that led to signing a record deal.  I quickly released my first album and single.

I'll always remember the day, almost exactly one year later after I submitted my first pictures online -- I was shooting a scene directed by Chi Chi LaRue in Palm Springs, and my phone rang. It was my record promoter calling to tell me that my first single had hit the Billboard Dance Chart.  My plan had worked.  Everyone on set celebrated for a moment, and then they handed me the lube and said "get back to work."

DBB: You are not the only artist to use the adult film industry to advance your professional music career as I'm sure you are well aware. When you entered the world of becoming a gay sex symbol, were you flying by the seat of your pants? Following your gut reaction? What? We know it turned out for you, but how did it feel during that period of your life?

FF: It was exciting and terrifying all at the same time.  Being flown around the world and put into odd situations with sometimes very odd people, I was always on my toes. But I also was growing up at the same time.  I learned so much about sexuality and human behavior--as well as about myself as an artist. My experiences have taught me many life lessons that influence my writing and my outlook on life.

DBB: The first scene you ever did in your film career was with Arpad Miklos. Tell us about that. When you first heard he took his own life in the early part of this year, what were your thoughts and your feelings?

FF: Arpad and I became instant friends the moment we finished shooting "The Road to Temptation."  For that period of my life, he was one of my closest confidantes and often slept for weeks at a time on my sofa when visiting NYC (before he moved here).  He was a wonderful man with a big heart and a wicked sense of humor.  Over the years, we had lost touch, but I still loved him and am devastated that he decided to leave.

There is something that no one tells you when you become a porn star: the industry doesn't care about you.  I've watched so many guys with beautiful spirits get taken advantage of and then spit-out by people they trusted and who claimed to be their friends.  Part of it is: "you've been around too long" and the other aspect is age.

No one is prepared to hear "you're too old" when you're 28-years old and look incredibly hot. It seriously messes with peoples' minds. 

I was lucky.  My plan worked, and once my music career took off, I quietly stopped making porn. I was getting a lot of mainstream press for my music, and I was able to get out before the studios stopped calling. Most porn stars have a 3-year life-span before no one wants them anymore.

When you've had a sudden burst of fame -- being on the covers of magazines, being the 'hot guy' everyone wants at their parties, being flown all around the country to make appearances at clubs and events as the big "star" for the night -- and then it all suddenly stops, it's scary. These people (often with low self-esteem) 'peek' in life at 25 years-old and are left feeling unwanted and unloved. They then have to face "what do I do with my life now?"

Most of the porn stars who've committed suicide the last two years turned to drugs or substances to numb that pain. I've been friends and/or good acquaintances with most of them, and it is so sad. I've tried reaching out, but the grip of their darkness runs so deep that there is no way for them to see a way out. It breaks my heart to see this happen to people who, deep-down, have such beautiful spirits.

The one thing that may surprise people is that most of the porn stars I've met are actually very funny, kind people.

DBB: Wow, Fredrick, that's so sad but so well said. Let's talk about your early days. You were born in Pennsylvania and moved around a lot as a kid. How did that affect or mold you, do you think, if at all? 

FF: I've learned how to be comfortable in a lot of different situations with different types of people. My definition of having 'class' is making people feel welcome in your presence.  My mom did a great job teaching me that over the years.

DBB: Who were your musical influences growing up?

FF: It was the age of Madonna and the late-80's into the 90's. I loved Duran Duran, but my favorite was the Eurythmics and my favorite song of all-time is "Sweet Dreams." When I started studying music, I immersed myself in Bill Withers, Stevie Wonder and Prince. Michael Jackson's music is still a huge influence to this day -- there's such energy and excitement.

DBB: You're a Billboard-charting artist! "Turn My World Around," "Out of the Dark," "Too Funky" and more. When you hear your recorded songs, what do you love about them? And what does it feel like to have a Billboard dance hit?

FF: Hearing my music broadcast for the first time across the tri-state New York area on one of the biggest radio stations in NYC (Mix 102.7) was quite a moment for me.  It was one of those times in your life when you sit back and say "wow, look what I've accomplished." However, I'm always striving for more. To write better songs. To move people and touch their lives with something that lifts them up.

And, to be honest, it's really incredible when a song connects with people and becomes a hit.  I do this not out of ego to become a "big star."  For me, it's truly about putting out great music.
 
DBB: I've heard rumors of an album. Is that in the pipeline?

FF: YES! I needed to step away from everything for a minute to care for a family member battling an aggressive cancer.  It was the most devastating loss of my life.  But it taught me that you can either stay down or choose to get back up.  I've gotten up, and so has my music.  I'm working hard on my album right now, and I hope to have it out by late-Spring 2014.

DBB: Fredrick, thank you so much for blabbing with me. Any last shout-outs to your international fans and your LGBT fans?

FF: Thank you everyone for all the love and continued support.  It truly means the world to me...!

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