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Singer/Songwriter Carlos “Budd” Ford

March 15th, 2016 | by Martin Keane
Singer/Songwriter Carlos “Budd” Ford
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Matik Media Enterprises Magazine

interview with Singer/Song Writer

Carlos “Budd” Ford

 

The music industry consists of companies and individuals that make money creating and selling an endless array of live musical performances, sound recordings, and music videos of songs as well as instrumental pieces. Among the many individuals and organizations that operate in the industry are: the songwriters and composers who create new music; the singers, musicians, conductors and bandleaders who perform the music; the companies and professionals who create and sell recorded music and/or sheet music (e.g., music publishers, producers, recording studios, engineers, record labels, retail and online music stores, performance rights organizations); and those that help organize and present live music performances (booking agents, promoters, music venues, and road crews).

The industry also includes professionals who assist singers and musicians with their music careers (talent managers, artists and repertoire managers, business managers, entertainment lawyers); those who broadcast music (satellite, Internet radio stations, broadcast radio and TV stations); music journalists and music critics; music educators and teachers; musical instrument manufacturers; as well as many others.

The modern music industry emerged between the 1930’s and 1950’s when records supplanted sheet music as the most important product in the music business. In the commercial world, people began referring to “the recording industry” as a loose synonym for “the music industry”. In the 2000’s, a majority of the music market is controlled by three major corporate labels: the French-owned Universal Music Group, the Japanese-owned Sony Music Entertainment,[1] and the US-owned Warner Music Group. Labels outside of these three major labels are referred to as independent labels. The largest portion of the live music market for concerts and tours is controlled by Live Nation, the largest promoter and music venue owner. Live Nation is a former subsidiary of iHeartMedia Inc, which is the largest owner of radio stations in the United States. Creative Artists Agency is a large talent management and booking company.

The music industry has undergone drastic changes since the advent of widespread digital distribution of music via the Internet, which includes both illegal file sharing of songs and legal music. A conspicuous indicator of this is total music sales: since the 2000’s, sales of recorded music have dropped off substantially, while live music has increased in importance. The largest music retailer in the world is now digital: Apple Inc.’s online iTunes Store.

Matik Media has been blessed to catch up with a pioneer in the music industry, a trailblazer from back in the day, and arguably a guiding light that still has his passion burning, the one and only Carlos Ford.

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MM: How are you doing brother? It’s been a long time since we kicked it.

CF: I’m doing fantastic man. Praise God.

MM: Well my brother, can you tell the Matik world how long you’ve been involved in the music industry?, and also, how many albums or projects you’ve worked on or been a part of so far?

CF: Well, let’s see, I’ve been in the game for a minute. As a teen, I started out with a band back in the Midwest called The Grand Jury Band. I was fortunate to have played with an endless slew of talented musicians and singers, but a few of the more notable members were; TJ Hooker Taylor (son of Blues Music legend Johnny Taylor), Livio Harris (Executive V.P. of Creative U.S. for Notting Hill Music Publishing who discovered and produced Adina Howard and managed singer/producer Jon B), Lance Alexander and Tony Tolbert (founding members of the group Lokey?, who also went on to work with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis as staff writers and producers, and were also responsible for discovering the hit group “Next” ,as well as, super independent rapper, Tech N9ne) just to name a few. I believe I’ve played a part in the industry for close to 20 plus years. I’ve completed 2 full albums; One with my singing group “Four Sure” (We Can Swing It), and the other as a solo artist (There’s Only One Me), but have been associated with about 8 albums since I began singing.

MM: Carlos, I remembered when you were with the singing group, “Four Sure”. You guys were signed with Uptown/MCA Records and Ruffhouse/Columbia Records respectively. What are the other guys up to these days?

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CF: Well, our last go round as a group was with Ruffhouse/Columbia. They had “The Fugees ft. Lauryn Hill and Wyclef Jean”, “Cypress Hill” , and Kriss Kross produced by a very young Jermaine Dupri. They also did the soundtrack for that movie “Juice” starring Tupac Shakur, Omar Epps, and Khalil Kain that was produced by Ernest Dickerson. There was so much that was going on there, I think we just fell through the cracks, lol. After leaving the label, Damon Thomas (Went on to marry Kim Kardashian (of Reality TV fame), and become a super producer as one half of The Underdogs, a production team who’ve worked with and produced a virtual Who’s Who in the music and television industries. I mentioned Livio Harris earlier and his rise as a top flight executive in the music industry. Rude Martin is doing a lot of production and also, himself releasing solo projects. The one person I’ve lost touch with is my boy Joey Elias. Haven’t been able to connect with him since he stopped working with Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, and Babyface respectively.

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MM: Man, sounds like you were doing it back in your hey day. What was it that made you stop?

CF: I stopped because I was in a relationship and had other things going on outside of music that I was more focused on at the time. Long story short, I left music for a woman. She wanted me to live a more normal and focused life far away from all the temptations and craziness that goes on, and I tried to appease her. So I walked away.

MM: That’s pretty deep. What can you tell us was the most memorable moment that you experienced during your journey through the industry?

CF: I’ve seen a lot. Jamie Foxx (Club Spice) before he made it big, singing and doing stand up during breaks, Connected with Mary Davis from The SOS Band who was gonna make me a CD of all there songs, including demos, while she was working at a Record Store in Atlanta, Ga, Raphael Saadiq just hanging by himself, vibing off other peoples’ music (Victoria Station), being in the studio with one of Luther Vandross’s background singers (Ava Cherry) as she attempted to secure her own solo deal. etc. etc… Too many stories to tell… Hollywood was alive, and potential stars were everywhere. But, actually, I have two personal favorite stories. The first one I’d have to say was when we had a chance to hangout with Sean “Puffy” Combs. He was a young intern back then but had that same extravagance you see him displaying now. His desire to achieve has never wavered. I still remember, Andre Harrell (The President and CEO of Uptown Records) sent “Puffy” out to Los Angeles to wine and dine us because we wanted to leave the company. We soon became regulars at clubs (not with him, but he helped get us started wilding out, lol); Paradise 24, Spice, Victoria Station and others, kicking it at times with the likes of Jodeci, Teddy Riley and Guy, Heavy D & The Boyz, Jeff Redd, Chuckii Booker, Mary J. Blige, and many others. The second and most memorable story of all is one I haven’t shared with many people. I’ve always assumed that the average person would think I have a very vivid and creative imagination (Which I do, lol). I remember the group I was signed with was recording at Ray Parker Jr’s, yes, that one, of Ghostbuster fames’, Recording Studio “Ameraycan” in North Hollywood, California. I was hanging out in the hallways when all of a sudden, of all people, who walks up? Billy Idol (White Wedding). He asks me what I was doing and if I could come listen to something right quick? Who am I to turn down Billy Idol? So I follow him into one of the adjacent recording rooms. I walk in and it’s dark as hell. He has lava lamps going all over the place, weed spread all across the top of the recording console, it’s just trippy. He then sits down and explains that he wants my opinion on the music he’s about to play. I’m like, cool. I’m chillin’, he hits play, and then proceeds to crank it up. Whoa, huh? Do my ears deceive me? Wow! I must be trippin’, he was working on Hip Hop songs. And the craziest part of all? They were good songs. Funky as hell and fresh as a mutha. Actually, damn good… I told him, “dude, your stuff is nice… ”the stuff is good”. He smiled, thanked me for listening, and eventually, he went back to what he was doing, and I went back to my recording room. To this day, I’ve never heard any talk about Billy Idol EVER doing a Hip Hop record. I even searched YouTube. My guess would be that his record company put the serious kibosh on that idea. A star “Rocker” doing “Hip Hop”??? Uh… NO! I’d have to be completely crazy to make up such a story. I challenge anyone who gets close enough to Billy Idol one day to ask him if he ever recorded any Hip Hop tracks, at Ameraycan Studios, in North Hollywood, wayyy back when??? I bet you’d be surprised by the answer… lol. Those were the good ol’ days for sure.

MM: Wow, crazy story. Before getting your first major break, some would say that you came up the hard way. Sleeping on friends couches, hustling many hours in the studios trying to make hit records. Is there any advice you would like to give young singers who are trying to come up in the industry?

CF: The one thing I would say is, straight up, you gotta stay grounded and stick to your path. Stay in your own lane because what folks don’t know is, Hollywood and the entertainment industry’s really more “Smoke and Mirrors” than anything else. Hollywood is an image that is sold. Only a select few are really, truly living the lifestyle that’s shown on TV and in Magazines. You have to create the world you wanna be in, “Everyday”, in your, “Everyday Life”. Don’t get it twisted, because, “Everything” you see, isn’t always what it seems… You can’t get caught up because this world will eat you up and spit you out if you’re not careful. “You got to break away from people”. What I mean by that is, when we were with MCA Records, we didn’t know the business angles too much and there were a lot of promises to us that never manifested, but, a lot of it was due to our own doing. There was a short period of time we were too caught up with outside folks and their influences and it cost us dearly. So I try and tell young up and coming singers to “keep your eyes on the prize and stay in your lane”. When I got back in the business after taking my leave of absence, the first project I worked on was a jazz project. I thought I was losing my confidence until people started asking me why I wasn’t singing? Lots and lots of people encouraged me to get back into the flow, and that’s when I started getting that urge to perform again.

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MM: Congratulations on keeping your family life intact through the struggles of making it back. You are a happily married man of almost 7 years. You got married on February 14, 2009 to your lovely wife Annette. How have you managed to separate your family life from show business?

CF: If you’ve had any form of success, unfortunately, in this world we live in, there are people who look or wait for you to fall off, basically, they’re secretly salivating to see you fail. You need people in your life who’ll except you as you are as long as you’re willing to put in your share of work for a common goal, together, building and living a fruitful life. Full of peace and devoid of drama. People have got to realize why things are done the way they are done. I am fortunate because Annette and I enjoy a lot of the same things. She stays busy and so do I, so we don’t get in each others hair much. We have so many things in common that it’s easy for us to do things together or apart.

MM: How many children are you blessed to have in being a father?

CF: I am blessed to be a father to 3 lovely children; Rae Rae, Ryan and Kiara. I personally believe I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for my children. They bring me joy, laughter, and tranquility. It’s never been a battle or struggle for me because I have developed a genuine rapport with my children to where they can come and talk to me about anything. I’m still in the stages of trying to build a much stronger and more fulfilling relationship with my daughter Kiara but I think in time things will work out.

MM: Cool, good stuff. Can you tell us the most interesting singer you have worked with in your career?

CF: Well…that’s actually a good question but I would have to say the most interesting singer that I had the chance to work with is a guy from my hometown, Kansas City, Missouri, and his name is Joey Elias. Joey Elias has great range and power and his voice? It’s incredible. I’m a definite fan! I mean, this guy has worked with Babyface, as well as Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. This cat was an emotional brother that sang with a lot of passion. He’d sing a song and women would lose it and cry because he put so much of his heart and soul into each and every song he sang which was incredible. I lost track of him, but hopefully one day I’ll get a chance to see him again because we were like brothers…

MM: Is there anyone out there that you’d like to work with, making a song, or collaborating on your future album?

CF: That’s another good question. Martin, You are GOOD, lol. I would love to work with a hip hop artist that’d be able to hit me with some Marvin Gaye type stuff, or at least be on that wave length. I really like what the people who work with (Rappers) Rick Ross and Wale are doing. It’s really intricate stuff, and it’s moody and hot. They go by the name of “The Justice League”. So fellas, if you see this interview, “brothas” ….. ya’ll KNOW… what’s up, lol. Let’s do this.

MM: Well big brother, it seems our time has come to a close. Is there anything in parting you’d like to say to your loyal fans that have followed you over the years, and those who continue to support you to this day?

CF: Please, for me, I’d like to let them know I appreciate them sticking with me from the start, and giving me much needed support in the trenches. Because of them, I’m inspired to continue to strive, dream, and believe I still have a place in this industry with hopes of continuing my legacy. Thank you all, and I love you much…

MM: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us Carlos. We are definitely going to look out for your album; “Blu Lites In Tha Basement”, with a major single coming this summer. Also, thank you for sending us your past singles, we’ll be sure to share them with everyone in the Matik world. It’s been great sitting and chatting with you. Carlos, welcome to the Matik family. We are brothers for life. Cheers.

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Written by: Martin Keane

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