Richard Ford

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Richard Ford grew up in London to a primarily classical music family, his mother being an amateur opera singer. At age 11, he landed a gig singing in Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s choir for some of their earlier performances and even recording with them at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Abbey Road, and Decca Studios, West Hampstead. In his early teens, Ford became more exposed to pop music, which sparked an interest in jazz and psychedelic rock. His early influences included The Don Ellis Big Band, Yes, and Todd Rundgren. 

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L.A.-based British composer/producer Richard Ford releases BP2

As an accomplished composer, producer, and bassist, as an Emmy-winning music editor, and executive music producer for film, L.A.-based Brit-transplant Richard Ford humbly maintains a resume of impressive accolades. He has worked with many Oscar-winning filmmakers on such films as Sideways, Argo, and Hidden Figures and, all this as a kind of second career after spending his early adult life as bass player for British music icons like Joe Jackson, Bram Tchaikovsky, and revered guitarist Bill Nelson. 

Ford is now set to drop his latest single, a cover of The Blue Nile song “Soon” (out March 26, 2021) just ahead of his forthcoming album BP2, to be released later this spring.

A long-time fan of The Blue Nile’s songs from the late 80s and early 90s, Ford notes that “Soon” showed up serendipitously on his playlist a couple of years ago and he immediately started thinking about the possibility of covering it for his upcoming project. The single pays homage to the original track with raw, sweet, and ethereal vocals by Canadian songwriter and singer  Kessi Blue. 

When Blue expressed an interest in laying down the vocals, Ford dove into working on the backing tracks and arranged the piece specifically with her voice in mind. The two had met a few years ago when Blue had been working with a team of producers that shared studio space with Ford in Los Angeles. Blown away by her natural talent and versatility when she sang in the chorus on his cover of George Duke’s “Malibu” from his last album Basso Profondissimo, he hoped there would be an opportunity to work with her again. 

Says Ford, “That opportunity came when Kessi was back in L.A. for a brief visit in 2019, she was psyched to work with me on ‘Soon’. We recorded vocals at My Sonic Temple Studio in Santa Monica, and within a couple of takes, she’d laid the vocal part down to a fault, delivering above and beyond expectation. She nailed it!”

​In keeping with the primarily instrumental theme of Ford’s previous album Basso Profondissimo — aside from the vocals and drums, all other parts were played on bass, giving the piece a  unique sound and a feel reminiscent of 1970’s British Soul. Subsequently, a beautifully crafted string arrangement by composer Mark Orton (formerly of Tin Hat Trio) was added, and Grammy and Emmy-winning mixer Chris Fogel came on board to dial in the sonics.  

Ford received the ultimate compliment for his version of “Soon” when Paul Buchanan, who originally penned the song for his band The Blue Nile told him, “It’s gorgeous! I’m complimented you chose it and made such a lovely version. It’s great to hear the bass, please thank Kessi Blue for singing it so beautifully.”

Richard Ford grew up in London to a primarily classical music family, his mother being an amateur opera singer. At age 11, he landed a gig singing in Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s choir for some of their earlier performances and even recording with them at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Abbey Road, and Decca Studios, West Hampstead. In his early teens, Ford became more exposed to pop music, which sparked an interest in jazz and psychedelic rock. His early influences included The Don Ellis Big Band, Yes, and Todd Rundgren. 

At age 16, Ford left school and got a job at London’s famed Sound City music store, a cultural hub where many of the major bands of the day would buy guitars and equipment. Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Steely Dan and many other name artists frequented the store, giving the young Ford a sense of the juiciness of the business. It was also during this time that he was exposed to the music of Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder, and Marvin Gaye. This was the beginning of his sensibility towards Motown —  a love affair that has not in any way waned — and at age 19, a friend recruited him to join a band backing up a young Scottish singer, Kimberly Clark, touring clubs in Scotland and the North of England, playing mostly Motown cover songs. 

At 21, Ford auditioned for London-based band Omaha Sheriff, who had an opening because their original bass player had obligations that wouldn’t allow him to perform with them. That bass player would turn out to be the legendary Tony Visconti, who produced the band’s album. Ford became a band member and worked on several other projects with Visconti in his London studio.

In 1978, Ford answered an ad in The Melody Maker magazine and fortuitously scored an audition with music-culture pacesetter Bill Nelson right at the beginning of the British New Wave scene. Nelson was impressed by Ford’s slap-bass and Jaco Pastorius-influenced style of playing and brought him on board as bassist for his iconic New Wave synthpop and art-rock experiment Red Noise. Ford played with Nelson for about a year, working on two albums, and a major UK tour before Red Noise finally disbanded in 1979.

With that experience under his belt, Ford went on to tour the U.S. with prominent UK punk/pub rocker Bram Tchaikovsky When the band returned to the UK at the end of the tour, Ford decided to stay behind with friends in New Jersey, and moved there permanently in 1981, gigging with various bands in New York City. It was during this time that Ford was approached to fill in as bass player for enigmatic new wave and jazz-pop musician Joe Jackson. Ford jumped on the opportunity to work with Jackson, completing two world tours, playing 10-12,000 seat venues, and recording the classic live album Big World in 1986.

Ford moved to Los Angeles in the early 90s after he landed a job as an assistant music editor for film.  He cut his teeth and learned the trade working on several small film and tv projects before landing his first big feature film with American History X in 1998. He has since worked with a number of critically acclaimed filmmakers, including Ben Affleck, Alexander Payne, Ted Demme, Jodie Foster, and Kathryn Bigelow. He is best known in the film industry for his work on films such as Argo, The Descendants, Sideways, Hidden Figures, and Training Day.

After nearly 20 years working on movie scores and soundtracks, Ford began to miss creating music for music’s sake:

“I began to feel as though my music mojo was tapped at the end of the workday and didn’t have the energy or patience to be creative working on my own music. So, a couple of years ago I decided to take the basses out of the closet, and made it my mission to take some time away from film work to write my own material …I haven’t stopped since! After I finished the first Basso Profondissimo project, the muse of inspiration was still there, and I kept writing for what would become my next album, BP2.”

“Soon” will be available on all major streaming platforms on March 26th, 2021.

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