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?
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?
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