Violinist Ken Ford Talks First Love and His Youth Foundation
He’s the King of Strings. Ken Ford is a renowned violinist who electrifies audiences with every performance. He brings fans to their feet, leaving them shocked and awed that a violin could draw such an emotional reaction.
Ford has performed on stage and in the recording studio with a range of superstar artists, including Bruno Mars, Jill Scott, Wyclef Jean, Chaka Khan, Ledisi, Brian Culbertson, the late Barry White, Cee-Lo Green, Erykah Badu and more.
On his latest album, State of Mind, Ford is “doing things on the violin that he did not do before, recording songs that embody sexy, electrifying allure flavored with Ken’s compelling twists on R&B, hip-hop and jazz.”
Here, the performer and philanthropist, who is hosting his annual fundraiser on Saturday, May 19 to benefit the Ken Ford Foundation, which provides scholarships and instruments to disadvantaged and disabled youth, talks about the first instrument he ever played and the importance of helping the youth. –yvette caslin
When did you pick up your first instrument? What was it?
Actually my first instrument wasn’t the violin. It was the bongos and I loved those things. I was only about 3 or 4 years old.
How did you learn to play?
I’m assuming you’re talking about the violin, if you are, I was trained classically through school.
What gets you most excited and feeling creative?
It’s a couple of things that musically gets me excited. One, when I come up with a melody that I know is slamming and ready to go on a CD. And two, when I play in front of a huge crowd and we’re exchanging energies.
Do you ever mess up or miss a note?
Of course, we all mess up or miss a note. It is how you get out of your mess up that qualifies where you are as a professional entertainer.
How do you overcome it?
By understanding that you are human and mess ups will happen and you will be surprised on how forgiving an audience can be, especially when you forgive yourself. [Laughs.]
Does this skill run in your family?
No, not really. My parents did have a serious love for music; and it helped that my dad was a deejay.
What is your favorite piece to play?
Hmm, good question. I actually absolutely love to play Stevie Wonder songs; they are so musical.
What prompted you to start your foundation?
I remembered what I went through as a kid playing the violin, as well as, I remember how excited I was about going to music class. Unfortunately in these days and times, we are losing our music education.
Why do you feel compelled to work with the youth?
The youth [are] truly our future. And, when you expose them to music, you can change nations.
Why is it important for parents to involve their children in the arts?
The arts open a window in the back of a child’s brain that once it’s open, you can never close it. It’s very important as it enhances your academics.
Join The Ken Ford Foundation on Saturday, May 19, 2012 at Ray’s Restaurant located at 6700 Powers Ferry Road, Atlanta, from noon to 4 p.m. Ticket prices start at $45.