On her second album, tentatively titled Sexysexobsessive and due early next year, Willa Ford mixes Christina Aguilera's dance-influenced raunch with Pink's confessional pop. The set's first single, "A Toast to Men," transforms a salty sorority chant into a female-empowerment anthem.
"I was hanging out at a sorority party with some friends," Ford says, "and I heard these girls raise their glasses and do this chant. It was a no-brainer. I had to do a song about it." The taunt goes: "Here's to the men we love/Here's to the men who love us/Fuck the men, let's drink to us."
I wasn't even sure my label would release a song that racy," says the twenty-two-year-old Ford. "It's about a bunch of chicks dancing and getting it on in a no-boys-allowed situation."
Ford spent more than two years writing and recording the new album, an eternity in teen pop. But she's not afraid that her downtime -- during which she hung out in her New York hotel room playing guitar and frequented Punk Rock Karaoke night at a Lower East Side nightclub -- has killed the momentum of her hit "I Wanna Be Bad," from 2001's Willa Was Here.
"I was part of the revolution, as far as changing the way people think of pop music," she says. "I wanted it to be sexy and fierce and be OK to say the word 'fuck.' I just needed some time to get out of it and figure out what the fuck was going on."
Ford wrote the new album by putting herself in the shoes of Marilyn Monroe and imagining what it would feel like to turn so many men on. On "Who I Am, Who Am I," she plays with gender roles and questions the divisions between gay and straight. On "Into My Bed," she relates a fictional account of a prostitute's life that was inspired by her own feelings of vulnerability as a teen trying to break into the music business. "It's deep, but very sexual," she says. "I felt violated when I was younger and dumber. I felt I was used as Willa Ford, sexpot to everyone."
One of the album's more emotional tracks, "Cry," is about a boy Ford dated. "He was so closed down I couldn't get him to open up," she says, "so I had to kiss that boy and make him cry."
Ford knows her voluptuous good looks are part of her allure, but she says that unlike some of her contemporaries, it's not an act. "I'm a sexy person at heart, whether I'm 500 pounds or what I weigh now," she says. "This is the real me. This is my life."
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