Special to GoGuide Magazine
Kristen Ford is a singer-songwriter, looper and multi-instrumentalist based in Nashville, Tennessee. While working at Hefty Records, a co-worker suggested she perform 100 shows a year to take her craft to the next level. Since 2008 Ford has toured relentlessly across America and Europe, her sound evolving from beatboxing solo acoustic to a one-woman looping band. She has crafted pop hooks for electro-hop duo The Blu Janes and electrifying lead of indie rock outfit Kristen Ford & The Assembly. Her latest album No Plans was recorded in Music City and led by an all-female production and engineering team.
What was your inspiration for No Plans?
I wanted to create an album that was sparse, a hard look at the emotions I was processing going through the lockdown of COVID-19 and having my way of life (touring constantly) for the last 10 years suddenly pulled like a rug out from under me. I reached out to a friend Piper Payne who is a member of the recording academy and a mastering engineer I had met in February – just a month before all hell broke loose. Piper connected me with Rachael Moore and the rest just really fell into place beautifully.
What song on the EP means the most to you and why?
“Stick Shift Corolla” is my favorite, it was so powerful to sing and cathartic to have this rocking band behind me finally telling off my demons, taking control of my own story.
As an independent artist, how has COVID-19 shaped you as a musician as well as the business behind your music?
It’s been wild to actually qualify for unemployment as a self-employed person, and for the first time, I feel like the government has actually been somewhat supportive of my path as a musician. Business-wise much has changed, I have shifted from touring, merchandise booths and using local venues to connect with fans to doing live streams, Instagram collaborations and takeovers. I’ve been thinking about doing a lot more recording and thinking about having my music available to be streamed or in films rather than primarily a live experience. Lots more time on the computer.
How have you been staying in contact with your fans during this time?
The internet is amazing! I really appreciate those folks who stay in touch via my mailing list, there is a sign up online, and Patreon has been a great way to stay in touch. I post a new creation every month and that is reliable income for me, plus my patrons know they are making a meaningful difference in my life and allowing me to continue to create.
Describe your experience living in Nashville and being an LGBTQ musician in the home of country music:
I love how friendly people are in Tennessee, and Nashville is full of dreamers. I grew up around Northampton, Massachusetts, basically the most lesbian place on earth, so it is a shift living in a red state, but the queer community here is tight-knit and amazing, plus most serious musicians here don’t care about your gender or orientation. We are all united with a deep love and respect of music. I also didn’t grow up listening to country, so I’ve loved working with artists like Hannah Juanita, Sierra Ferrell and queer cowboy Paisley Fields. They have taught me lots of classics which are amazingly written and performed tunes. New county leaves a lot to be desired for me, but I enjoy the journey.
Have you been on any socially distant adventures lately?
Yes, I just went out west to Wyoming and Colorado, seen some old friends and played socially distant shows. It’s weird, but not weirder than performing for your phone. I love long car trips. My happy place to just chill and allow the road to unfold.
You’ve been working as an actor as well. Tell me about that:
I did a few songs for the film “Valentine Crush”. It’s an indie horror flick about roller derby. I have done extra work for the show “Nashville” and some other big projects, but this was my first time with lines and an actual part. I’m totally hooked.
What are your future plans as a musician/actor?
I’m working on headshots and my reel this week! I am ready to audition for everything, get to know the people creating the movies, tv and web series and if they don’t need my face on camera, perhaps I could provide music! I love writing for a theme. It helps channel this ADD where I love so many genres of music and instruments.
If there’s one piece of advice you’d like to give other independent LGBTQ musicians, what would it be?
Be yourself. Trust the universe to connect you with likeminded people or the ability to change minds into a more tolerant place, just by you shining bright as you can. Plus, we need more gay songs! I wish one day a year we could turn on the radio and every single song would be singing about same sex relationships. The breeders can have the other 364 days!
To listen to No Plans, visit www.kristenfordmusic.com