“I Wanna Be Bad” was just another one-hit-wonder in the early 2000s, and singer Willa Ford is catching serious slack after including 9/11 in her reasons for leaving the music industry.
“I Wanna Be Bad” was released in 2001, almost four years after Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera began dominating the charts. The song peaked at No. 22 in 2001, landing in the shadows of “Fallin'” by Alicia Keys and “All For You” by Janet Jackson.
The singer, who is now an interior designer, spoke with Billboard earlier this week, explaining why her music career ended.
“A lot of people don’t realize this, but my second single was released on September 11, 2001,” she states. “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.”
Her first album, Willa Was Here, was released in the summer of 2001, and her second single, “Did Ya’ Understand That,” was released on that fateful day. Another major factor worth noting is the drama surrounding her record label at the time, which was Lava Records. Lava was a joint-venture between music executive Jason Flom and Atlantic Records. The label was relatively new, and the company struggled early on. Lava was constantly changing, and the artists weren’t getting the attention and publicity they needed.
After her second single failed, Willa decided to leave the industry. She compared her situation to a “perfect storm.” This included her sister having a new baby, her feeling utterly out of control in the music industry, and her second single flopping, which occurred partly because of 9/11.
Willa’s subtle comments about 9/11 affecting her career weren’t taken lightly. Twitter users began slamming the singer on social media; blaming her lack of talent on her failed career and not the September 11 attacks. To set the record straight, Willa spoke with People.
“In a recent interview with Billboard, I made a comment about the release of a single by my record label on September 11, 2001, where I stated ‘Everything that happened that day froze; the world stood still as it should have.’ 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.”
It’s clear from her comments to People that Willa is not basing her short-lived music career on a notorious terror attack, and her explanation was taken out of context by media outlets.
For now, Willa continues her career in interior design, which has been a major success. She is married to the former NFL linebacker, Ryan Nece, with whom she has a son, Elijah Everett. She hasn’t completely ruled out music and would be on board to do another tour. The designer still has a large LGBT fan base and would love to tour the club circuit.
[Featured Image by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images]