You would think that someone who is so dedicated to music that they get a music-themed armband tattoo should be guaranteed a long and successful career, but that’s not what happened in Willa Ford’s case. Willa recently spoke to Billboard about a possible comeback, and the career that never was.
Willa’s first and only single was the slut anthem I Wanna Be Bad. It was everything good about pop music of the early 00s. Choreography you could easily recreate with your friends, felony levels of autotune, pretend driving, frosty highlights, a clear message we can all relate to.
I Wanna Be Bad was released in May 2001, and it was a hit. Her first album Willa Was Here was released two months later. A second single, Did Ya’ Understand That, was set for release two months after that. But much like Mariah trying to explain the box office demise of Glitter, Willa says that second single was a dud because it 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.”
Did Ya’ Understand That was apparently released on December 4, 2001. I can’t remember back that far, so I’m guessing that means it was re-released later? I’ll take Willa’s word for it. Anyway, Willa says she didn’t mind so much that 9/11 overshadowed her second single’s release. But then the record company she was with got acquired by another company and Willa Ford sort of got lost in the shuffle. Although she didn’t mind; Willa says she wanted out of the music industry because she wasn’t being authentic to her classically-trained self. Now I’m picturing I Wanna Be Bad sung opera-style. Thank you for that, Willa.
Since then, Willa acted a little – she played Anna Nicole Smith in The Anna Nicole Smith Story – but she sort of disappeared. Willa tells Billboard she has thought about coming back. But does anyone still care about Willa Ford? Um, rude – Willa totally has a huge fan base.
“I’m so grateful. So many of them are my loving gays – they’re my ride or dies. I’ve had so many guys be like, ‘Listen, I figured out I was gay because I realized from your music videos I didn’t want to screw you – I wanted to be you.’ I have thought about coming back, and I know who my community was and who would embrace me. When I look at Kylie Minogue, she did [her comeback] really right. She did Loco-Motion, she went away for 20 years – which is almost how long I’ve gone away.”
Nobody tell Willa Ford that that’s not what Kylie did, okay? She’s got a dream of a comeback, and I don’t have the heart to crush it.
It’s a true shame that bad timing robbed Willa Ford of her own Slave 4 U/Dirrty era. But if that second album doesn’t seem likely, she’s got other comeback options. Willa says she’s spent the past few years as an interior designer. Are the producers of the new Trading Spaces still looking for designers? Think about it – if I Wanna Be Bad is what Willa can do with music, imagine what she could do with a couple hundred bucks, limited design supplies, and a room.