A Talented Exhibitionist
Once upon a time in Southern California there was a boy named Glenn Soukesian. That boy grew up loving to entertain, with a deep passion for music and theatre.
He was signed to acclaimed songwriters Denise Rich and Michael O’Hara in the early 90s, paired up with the Godfather of House Music, Frankie Knuckles, and had a couple major label deals that did not quite materialize into what he had hoped for.
He then decided to have an adventure, and in the process created Colton Ford in his short but impactful foray into adult films, and used that exposure (pun intended) to draw attention to the other things that he does, namely music and acting.
Colton Ford can be synonymous with many different things. People who know him or know of him can say he is a handsome and stunning man who took the gay porn world by storm in the early 2000’s.
Others who are more in the know like myself can say that he has done a phenomenal job capitalizing on that “persona” bringing people to his artistic endeavors, having released four original albums, one cover album and numerous singles.
He’s also toured the world performing his music, was a part of Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Tour, has had roles in film, television, and off-Broadway, and has actually been in the mainstream entertainment business, most notably as Sherrif Trout on the hit here! tv series The Lair.
As Colton, Glenn Soukesian has done some fantastic musical work in the last couple of decades, including his 2003 Billboard Top 10 Hit “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” with dance royalty, Pepper MaShay. (The cover peaked at #2 on the Dance Chart).
His 2007 album “Tug Of War,” remains a dance-soul and pop masterpiece. Equally iconic was his most subversive cover ever, R.E.M.’s Grammy-Winning “Losing My Religion,” from his 2009 album “Under the Covers”.
“The Way I Am” (2013), “Next Chapter” (2014), and “Glenn Soukesian” (2016) complete his discography.
We thought we had heard him last in 2017 with his single “Will I Ever Be”…
But it turns out that he released a single in 2018, through Sobel Records and under another name, One Man West, titled “Waiting.”
But where has he been for the past year?
Apparently, coming to terms with his artistic direction, future projects and collaborators, and something from his past in particular that he’s finally ready to reclaim: his birthname.
From now on, this brave gay artist -a staple of the community- and iconoclast is coming back with new projects and collaborators, and he’ll do as…
A man’s man with a smile from the inside, he looks better today in his mid fifties, than he did when he was christened in the very early aughts as the George Clooney of Gay Porn during the short 10 months he worked in the Adult Entertainment Industry.
His enthusiasm for singing, dancing, song-writing and performing transcends sexuality. He’s a true artist rooted in creativity, and exploration, and that is what he was put here to do.
Others kept the divide between adult entertainment and mainstream music wide shut until he made it his mission to tear it down and take his seat at the table, flip it back, and reverse the game… all in favor of his individuality and artistic hunger.
Nothing has been the same again. And that is just great. He told us that, and much more, himself:
01. Hi Glenn! Thanks for taking the time to talk and catch us up with your life and give us some sort of sneak peak of what’s coming. It’s been a minute since we last saw you. What is happening in your life right now?
– Lot’s. New music, including a single with the wonderful Billy Porter, more theatre and acting.
02. What made you want to get your start in music? What makes you keep coming back?
– It’s my passion and what I’ve always done and will always do. Period. I never leave it, as it’s a part of who I am. I’m always creating, so for me it’s a continuous and seamless experience.
03. A lot of people who used to be in the adult industry have a hard time transitioning out and becoming successful in another facet, yet you have done that ten fold. What do you attribute your success in the music business too?
– It can be challenging for sure, because there is still a stigma attached to having had the experience. It’s becoming less of an issue, but that religious moral judgment that people attached to it is heavy, inappropriate and ridiculous in my opinion. I mean who cares? Well some do and can put up big walls.
I just have never let that experience define me. People who have a problem with it, or aren’t able to see me without prejudice aren’t my people anyway. I gravitate towards those like-minded individuals who don’t have braces on their brains and can see a complete person, not just one thing.
It takes constant attention and boundaries, so that you can identify these people as quickly as possible, get away from them and move on to those individuals who see you completely and can actually help. Also, again, I’m an artist and this is what I do. I write, arrange and record all of my vocals. It’s real.
My musical endeavors are not a residual of my porn experience, it’s what I’ve been doing since I came into this life. In fact, I’ve got quite a pedigree from my time in the music business over the past 30+ years!
04. So meanwhile, under the Trump administration, the president seems to be dismantling so much. As an avid follower of your Twitter feed, it’s clear you’re not a fan. Is there any way you think that the Trump administration has been succeeding?
– I have absolutely nothing good to say about what is going on, and about the imposter in charge. It’s unconscionable, disgustingly vile and I think he is the sorriest excuse of a human being possible. There’s nothing about him or what he represents that I would consider successful. In fact, what we have here is a clear example of what a malignant narcissist looks like, and it is scary and dangerous.
05. Are you angry at America right now? Do you feel, as a minority, that you’re being treated with disrespect, as a second-class citizen – not even a citizen, an outsider?
– I’m pissed at our species really! I mean this is where we’re in the 21st Century with our evolution? All of our history and here we are? Still fighting amongst ourselves to just exist and be happy. Right? We all just want to be happy and live a fulfilling life. Look around. How we are treating each other globally is horrific.
We are standing face to face with the dark side of the human condition and I believe we are at a crossroads. If nothing else, this administration and all of its corruption has revealed to us just how bad the greed and desire for power is. It is the quintessential destroyer, and if we don’t get a grip on it, it will take us out. We got crazy ass narcissists running shit people, so watch the fuck out!
06. How else is the current administration affecting people’s lives in the LGBTQ community?
– This to me is larger than any one group. We are talking about human rights. I don’t care if we’re discussing LGBTQ rights, African American rights, Women’s rights, etc. The current administration doesn’t give a shit about anything or anyone but their interests. Period.
The cost to the American public is huge, and that translates socioeconomic lines. We are all 99.9% the same for God sake! Take it in and get it, because what we do to others, we’re doing to ourselves!
We have to figure this shit out and accept and respect people for who they are. All of it. Embrace it!
Thank God we’re not all the same. Our differences make each of us unique, individual and special.
07. Do you think the current political discourse has made LGBTQ artists more visible, involved, and successful?
– I think anytime you move to oppress people or groups of people and deny certain rights and assistance given to others, you’re going to have those people and groups being discriminated against bind together and speak out and rise up!
This is how revolutions begin. I think all of us that oppose what the current administration is doing are having to be more visible and make our voices louder to fight this cancer.
08. Is there perhaps something, anything, that you are comfortable admitting in having in common with the Republican Party of the last three years?
– Nope. Nothing.
09. How do you describe your fans? Do people like you for different reasons? Do fans often get too personal too quickly?
– For the most part, those that have supported me and stayed with me through the years have been awesome and very kind. There are those that take it to another level, and when that happens I adjust accordingly.
I’m cool with meeting and talking to people, and hearing their stories and how my music has impacted their lives. That’s wonderful! If at any point it goes south, then I just politely peace out.
10. Do you find when a male artist in the music industry comes out that it is harder for them to sustain a career?
– We are still in the fight y’all. It’s shifting, but as we see we still have a long ways to go. Case by case I think. It has worked for some, but we’re still not out of the woods by any means. No standard meter here.
I always find it ridiculous that we don’t see that many gay actors cast in straight roles, but they’ll cast a straight actor to play a gay character. So fucking ridiculous, especially since the nature of acting is to become/embody whatever character you’re playing.
Who the actor is in his/her real life should have no influence over who can play what. I think it also depends on your fan base, and whether or not they’ll stay loyal processing through this kind of revelation. Yeah, we still in the fight!
11. Who would you say are some of your musical influences?
– Stevie Wonder, Luther, Anita, Chaka, Babyface, Toni Braxton (my girl), Howard Hewitt, Marvin, Sarah Vaughn, Manhattan Transfer, Brandy, to name just a few.
12. Do you find it frustrating when you get booked to do performances at gay venues that many guys there still see you in the porn light and not the music light that you are striving to be currently?
– I haven’t had an issue with it really, again contingent upon the spirit of the exchange, but I have to say there has been a shift in that and it began a while back. People who come up to me now generally start with the music first.
Either way, if it’s good kind energy I’m cool. I knew what I was doing when I did it, that it is a provocative thing, so you factor that into your decision when you’re looking at possibly doing porn.
You have to otherwise you’re fucked. This attachment will always be there right beside ya.
13. Do you have a favorite song of all time?
– Absolutely not, and I hate the question really. There are too many brilliant songs out there of equal merit and impact, to say there is one that is set apart from the rest is in my opinion impossible. Way too many factors!
14. What do you have going on for the rest of 2019 and beyond?
– I’ve got several singles in line to come out this year, the first of which is a brand new version of Losing My Religion, which will be dropping in June.
I’m also working on a single with the brilliant Billy Porter, and have a couple of other theatre projects in the works.
15. If there is one thing you want your audience to know about you, what is it?
– Ok. So this is very personal, which is why my audience doesn’t know about this, but I think I’m ready to share. Deep breath.
I think the Pretzel M&Ms are the best out of all the choices of M&Ms. God I feel naked, but so much better!
16. The connection between music and sexuality is a strong one…sometimes people forget you have a great voice to go along with it. You lose sight of how good an artist is sometimes when that is the way they choose to express themselves. Do you relate?
– Well, music can of course be sensual and sexual, as can people. I always laugh when critics are like “what are you trying to sell here?”
Look around people. We are sexual creatures in our nature. We are sold everything by way of provocation, and sex is at the top of the list of things people respond to. How many of our pop divas are leaving nothing to the imagination? Look at the videos, packaging.
Look at how you can turn on the tv now and see nudity. Problem is we have attached so much religious bullshit to that part of ourselves and the human experience, that people are still in a tug of war with wanting it, feeling it’s a sin or that it’s bad. We want it, but we hate ourselves for wanting it.
And if someone is out there brazenly exploiting themselves and using their sexuality in a powerful way, well stop the ship!! Lol. I don’t have that struggle.
I can see a hot artist giving me his/her sexuality and still be able to recognize and receive their talent and work free from any prejudice. Again, it’s the whole picture.