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Body and soul: dance-music singer Colton Ford reveals how a documentary about his unusual career detour is, in the end, a love story.

"The first time was really uncomfortable," admits Colton Ford. "You feel so exposed." Ford, 42, isn't talking about his initial foray into adult films. Or even residing at the Live and Raw Hotel, where Internet patrons paid $25 or so a month to watch Ford and other models--including his lover, Blake Harper--in intimate interaction. Nope. What gave him butterflies was his first film festival screening of Naked Fame, a new documentary chronicling his adventure of leaving the adult entertainment business to rekindle his music career.

Prior to his adult film work, Ford was signed to Virgin Records (twice) and he worked with DJ-producer Frankie Knuckles but had nothing to show for it due to label politics. Since the completion of Naked Fame, he scored a club hit with Pepper MaShay covering Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" and is finishing new material with producers such as Mac Quayle (remixer of Madonna and Britney Spears) and DJ Bill Bennett.

"The biggest challenge for adult film stars who desire to cross over into music has remained the same for years: the need to be taken seriously and respected as an artist," says Michael Paoletta, dance-music editor for recording industry trade Billboard. "It's almost as if an adult film star has more to prove than a less talented singer who has not appeared in adult films." But Paoletta has heard Ford's unreleased material and says some of it is top-notch. "He comes across as a blue-eyed soul singer."

As documentaries go, Naked Fame is no Triumph of the Will, nor is it even Unzipped as titillation. Yet despite low-budget cinematography and uneven pacing, key components click. Foremost is how supportive and loving Ford and Harper are of each other, whether they're signing autographs at a circuit party or moving into a new apartment (without webcams).

"In most people's eyes, we are a couple who lived the extremes of the gay experience," Ford reflects. "Yet you can see that we're down-to-earth, genuine guys who are just trying to figure life out."

Reighley is the author of Looking for the Perfect Beat (MTV/Pocket Books).
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Author:Reighley, Kurt B.
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 15, 2005
Words:349
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