For many people, thoughts of being a performer usually go one of two ways. Either people absolutely have a passion for it, or they positively dread the idea of standing before a crowd. When it came to Penny Ford, she knew at a very young age that she was destined to be a singer.
The urge, passion and desire to be a singer was so intense that she remembers thinking, “if I don’t do this, I’m going to die.”
Anyone with a burning desire, a need that fills their body, mind and soul, can relate to the sentiment. It’s human nature to bring forth dreams and passions, manifesting them into reality. The trick has always been to overcome the obstacles, intrinsic and external, in order to become what one is meant to be.
Music was simply in Ford’s blood.
Her mother, Carolyn Ford-Griffith, was an artist with King Records while her father, Gene Redd, Sr., an executive producer. Neither wanted to marry, and they never did, but what Ford-Griffith wanted was a record deal, and Redd had the ability to provide it. Ford notes that her father was considerably older than her mother and says, “somewhere out of that whole thing was me.”
Ford was raised by her grandparents in Cincinnati, Ohio, which also happened to be near a gospel church. She had been taking piano lessons for a little while and vaguely recalls being interested in music. But it was the sound emanating from the church that called to her.
“They would open the doors in the summer and the most beautiful music would be coming out,” Ford says, her face and eyes lighting up with the memory. She smiles, hands in the air as she harkens her mind back to the sound that drew her in as a youngster.