Colt Ford Talks New Album and All-Star Collaborations
Country-rap pioneer Colt Ford released his seventh studio album, We The People Volume 1 on Sept. 20 via his own…
Colt Ford; Photo by Jeff Fasano
Country-rap pioneer Colt Ford released his seventh studio album, We The People Volume 1 on Sept. 20 via his own Average Joes Entertainment label. The full-length project, which features 14 tracks, serves as one half of a future two-pack collection that he believes is his best body of work yet.
“Here I am 12 years into it, and I feel like this may be the best music I’ve made as a whole. That’s fun and exciting,” Ford tells Country Now. “I push myself with every record. I try and do stuff that I’ve never done before so the fans can go, ‘Wow. Look he’s evolved. He’s doing different things.’”
As Ford’s music continues to evolve, he wants fans to know that he will always maintain who he is as an artist regardless of whether or not his fan-base changes in the coming years. One thing that’s sure to remain is his penchant for partnering with other artists on his projects, which doesn’t go unnoticed on We The People Volume 1.
On his most recent single, “Slow Ride,” Ford collaborates with hitmaker Mitchell Tenpenny. The groove-driven song features Ford using his signature rapid fire-style lyrics on the verses with Tenpenny showcasing his sultry falsetto on the smooth choruses. The unique pairing results in an infectious blend for listeners.
“I love the song, and Mitchell Tenpenny is amazing to me,” Ford said of his good buddy’s work on the song before adding that he co-wrote “Slowride” with Justin David Bertoldie, Taylor Phillips, Josh Mirenda and Jared Sciullo, while on his tour bus. “I struggle to write on the bus because, to me, it’s distracting on the road. This time, with the three of us, it just clicked. And, we wrote seven songs, in a two-day run, in about six hours.”
Aside from teaming up with Tenpenny on the project, Ford also collaborates with artists including Dan Tyminski, DJ KO, Eddie Montgomery, Jimmie Allen, Larry Fleet, Michael Ray and Walker Montgomery. And, while he doesn’t always get the credit for it, Ford, who broke out in 2008 with his debut record, Ride Through the Country, blazed the trail for other country artists to begin populating each other’s recent albums.
“Honestly, I’ve had more collaborations than anybody in town,” Ford said proudly. “I kind of made it cool for people to do that. I feel like I was a big part of that and the shift in the music. I like seeing artists that you wouldn’t think about collaborating because you can come up with something cool, even if the two artists are completely different.”
Indeed, Ford, who, to date, has sold over 3 million albums and garnered over a billion streams, may have a laundry list of people whom he’s worked with over the years. But there’s one star he says he’d be thrilled to collaborate with if the offer was ever on the table, and that’s Taylor Swift.
“I’d like to work with anybody who is not afraid, and who knows who they are. Whoever wants to do that, I’m down. I don’t care what genre they are. If they want to work with me, I’ll do it,” he stated. “I’d love to work with Taylor Swift. I think she’s an incredible songwriter, and I think we’re different in a lot of ways, and that’s cool. That’s what’s going on with country music, and it’s not such a bad thing to have a different opinion. That’s okay. It doesn’t make you a bad person.”
“Slow Ride” follows the release of Ford’s previously released songs, “Lucky Scars,” “How You Lose A Women” and the album’s title track. The latter of the three, he says is meant to unite people. And, while some might think the tune has political undertones, Ford says that’s not the case. Instead, the album as a whole is all about finding common ground with one another no matter the political climate.
“‘We The People’ is all-inclusive. If you want to be a good person, and hang out and have fun, then don’t point fingers and talk about other people,” he explains. “Just have a good time and find some common ground. That’s what ‘We The People’ is [about]. Most people who have supported me, and the new fans, we are the people. That’s what it is.”
Ford recorded We The People Volume 1 during a marathon tour schedule of nearly 150 shows. Despite working hard this past year, the Georgia native isn’t stopping anytime soon. He is currently in the midst of his fall We The People Tour, which currently runs through December. And while Ford, who previously notched five consecutive Top 10 debuts on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, has yet to hear his voice on terrestrial radio, its “Slow Ride” that he thinks could truly make a lot of noise. The song, which has already been embraced by radio and streaming platforms upon release, has become a favorite among fans.
“They have already embraced ‘We The People’ and ‘Slow Ride,’” Ford said. “’Slow Ride’ is starting to take on a life of its own the way that ‘Dirt Road Anthem’ did. I’m thinking maybe this is the one that breaks through and gets me radio play. I haven’t had that song yet. But maybe this is the song, or maybe another song on the record is the one. I keep looking at the positive and trying to make the absolute best songs I can make. I love what I do and I love the people that come with it. It’s not about the paycheck, it’s about the music. I care about the fans and making people feel something and them knowing that I mean it.”
Melinda Lorge is a Nashville-based freelance writer who specializes in covering country music. Along with Country Now, her work has appeared in publications, including Rare Country, Rolling Stone Country, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine, Wide Open Country and more. After joining Rare Country in early 2016, Lorge was presented with the opportunity to lead coverage on late-night television programs, including “The Voice” and “American Idol,” which helped her to sharpen her writing skills even more. Lorge earned her degree at Middle Tennessee State University, following the completion of five internships within the country music industry. She has an undeniable love for music and entertainment. When she isn’t living and breathing country music, she can be found enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.