Soulful singer Colton Ford is a top 10 Billboard recording artist and a 40-year music industry veteran. In the 90s, Colton teamed with the Godfather of House Music, Frankie Knuckles, releasing four full-length albums and achieving numerous Billboard charting singles, including “The Way You Love Me,” “That’s Me,” “Losing My Religion,” “Let Me Live Again,” and “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” with dance diva Pepper Mashay.
Colton was also named in AfterElton.com‘s Top 50 Gay Male Musicians, he was featured in Cyndi Lauper’s video for her hit “Into The Nightlife,” and also performed on the Lauper-helmed 2008 True Colors Tour. He was the subject of the acclaimed 2003 documentary, Naked Fame, and has had cameos in the films Another Gay Sequel and The Next Best Thing starring Madonna and Rupert Everett.
For the past seven years, Colton took a conscious step back from his public life, still releasing an album and several singles during that time, but not pushing his work the way he had done previously. “I needed time to process the losses I was experiencing during this time, reflect and grow,” he says. “With regard to my work, these days I’m not compromising my vision, changing who I am artistically or doing music that doesn’t represent me. I’m doing what I feel is right for me first and foremost. I’ve grown very comfortable and confident trusting my creative voices without question or compromise. I’ve become Stronger.”
Colton’s latest single, “Stronger” is the first track off of his upcoming EP, Unity. Of the inspirational ballad, Colton says, “We have to stay conscious of what we are telling ourselves, as that impacts and influences everything we experience in this life. This narrative I believe is very timely and very relevant, especially now!”
As for the Unity EP, Colton explains that it deals with topics regarding how “we as human beings are connected and more alike than we are different.” He adds, “What we’re seeing, who and what we’re dealing with, and how we can overcome the atrocities we’re witnessing and facing by unifying and demanding change has inspired me. We need to embrace that we are one species with all kinds of wonderful brothers and sisters in it, celebrate our diversity and appreciate that we are better together then we are apart.”
Get to know more about this multi-talented (and easy on the eyes) performer as Colton answers the Socialite Seven!
When did you know that you wanted to become a singer? And have there been any moments in which you regretted your decision (in the moment)?
I don’t think there was ever a time when I wasn’t singing, performing and entertaining. It’s something that I’ve been doing all of my life; and will continue to do until I leave it. Music has always been at the center! I don’t have any regrets, but that’s not to say that at times the experience and journey hasn’t been gut wrenching, making me want to run away in the moment. This business is difficult and brutal, and will challenge you at every step, but you have to process through it and keep it moving. Not always easy.
Who has had the biggest influence on your music and why?
Well, there are more artists than just one that have influenced me musically. Stevie Wonder, Babyface, Luther, Sarah Vaughan, Toni Braxton, Chaka, Howard Hewitt, Earth Wind and Fire, to name just a few. They speak to me and move me in ways that have definitely influenced my musical style and vibe!
Who (if anyone) would you love to collaborate with?
Hmm. There are a bunch. I would love to collaborate with Toni Braxton and Babyface. Brandy is brilliant and collaborating with her would be equally brilliant. Love Sam Smith!
What type of music or artist that you listen to frequently do you think your fans would be surprised to learn that you’re a fan of?
I don’t think there would be any surprises. The artists I mentioned above are some of the people I listen to. I also dig Ella Mai, H.E.R. and Khalid. I also love and listen to Manhattan Transfer. R&B/Soul and jazz are the types of music that I connect with most and where I’ve found my inspiration, but I love all kinds of music.
What are you hoping to achieve with your music?
As always, to reach and speak to as many people as possible!
What are three things you can’t live without?
Family/close friends, music, animals, oh and a fourth one, the truth!!! We are hard pressed nowadays to get the truth, and look what damage lies and deception can create! We can’t really live a life of stability and consistency without the truth! It’s chaotic, just like what we’re experiencing now in this country and throughout the world really. As they say, the truth shall set you free, so let’s get with it!!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Establish boundaries! I’ve been in therapy for almost 30 years and creating healthy boundaries can make the difference between living a fulfilling life that is as peaceful as possible, and a life of strife and dysfunction! Having boundaries is so critical to our well-being.