One-hit wonders are no new thing in the music industry, but Willa Ford has some interesting theories about why her career never took after her lone hit single.
Ford gained fame in 2001 with “I Wanna Be Bad”, which reached No. 22 on the Billboard Hot 100, putting her in the running for pop superstardom alongside other early-2000s performers like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. But the next level of success never happened.
In a new interview with Billboard, Ford offered her explanation for why things didn’t pan out, citing the September 11 attacks as the big reason.
“A lot of people don’t realize this, but my second single was released on September 11, 2001,” Ford said. “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.”
Of course, the terror attacks weren’t the sole reason. The record label Ford was signed to was sold before her second album came out, which put the album and future singles in limbo and her career slowed down, leading to the difficult decision to leave music almost entirely.
“I really took a step back because I felt like I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing at the time,” Ford said. “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.”
Following her Billboard interview, Ford is clarifying her 9/11 comments. In an interview with People, Ford wants to make it clear she is not blaming the attacks for stalling her career.
“During the past day, other news outlets have taken the liberty to say that I somehow blamed 9/11 for my song not taking off … this could not be further from the truth,” she said. “It was meant to be an inspirational piece about how the universe sent me in a new and different direction, one that has led me to success and joy in other areas of my personal and professional life,” she continued.
Ford currently works as an interior designer, though she also takes the occasional movie role. Most famously, she played Anna Nicole Smith in the 2007 Lifetime biopic.
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Ford has, however, considered trying to mount a musical comeback.
“I have thought about coming back, and I know who my community was and who would embrace me,” Ford said. “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, and then she comes back with this amazing dance-pop record. For me it was groundbreaking in the States.”
“I really do miss music,” Ford added. “It’s my first passion, my first love.”