Willa Ford believes her career tanked as a result of 9/11.
The former pop singer, who had the May 2001 single “I Wanna Be Bad,” opened up to Billboard about what she believes is the reason why her career tanked.
The singer told Billboard that her second single “Did Ya’ Understand That” was reportedly released on Sept. 11, 2001, and according to Ford, failed to climb the charts following the tragedy.
“That’s the question I get on the daily, literally,” she said. “It was the perfect storm. A lot of people don’t realize this, but my second single was released on September 11, 2001. Everything that happened that day froze; the world stood still, as it should have. My second single didn’t do well because anything that launched that day kind of got canned.”
“I ended up in no man’s land,” she said of losing her former record label, Lava Records, which was acquired by another company and had its president leave shortly after.
I felt like this pop machine had taken me and put me in the wash cycle, and I had been spinning out of control. I wanted some time to refocus myself. I started re-evaluating what I was doing. I was a classical opera singer with musical theory — a real, legit musician. I loved what I was doing — I wrote the songs, but I felt like the authenticity wasn’t there. I knew that it wasn’t going to have the staying power that I wanted it to have. I really took a step back because I felt like I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing at the time. I know that sounds crazy, but it was the perfect storm, and I walked away. It’s really hard when you walk away to go back to it.
Other recording artists, including Nickelback, Mariah Carey, Ben Folds, Jay-Z and Bob Dylan, released full length albums on September 11th, but Ford said that on the radio her single “fell to the wayside.”
At the time, Ford was being marketed as an alternative pop star, different from Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.
“People really didn’t think that we all liked each other, but I really did like all the girls. Britney Spears was really the first pop girl to launch, so you can’t touch that: Britney is iconic,” Ford said. “Then you had Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson and Mandy Moore. Everyone was doing this squeaky clean image, and I was 21 coming out on a record like, ‘This is not me.'”
“I was on a record label with people like Kid Rock and Jason Flom, who in the business is amazing. He was the president of our record company. He got it that I was 21 and didn’t want to be a goody two shoes. He let me come out guns blazing […]” she said. “When ‘I Wanna Be Bad’ came out, people were more PC, and it was just a more honest song.”
Her second album never made its debut.
“It was raunchy, but there were some songs that were really cool. There was a song called ‘Sexy Sex Obsessive,’ which sounds funny out loud, but it was pretty striking at the time, and there was a song called ‘Who I Am,’ which got secretly released in Europe.” she said.
(H/T E! News)