Willa first became popular in 2001 as the self proclaimed Bad Girl of Pop when she released her debut album.
Outside of music Willa hosts a few reality television shows. Also after studying opera for over four years Willa achieved a degree as a professional opera singer and is also whistle registered.
Willa was born and raised in Ruskin Florida. She began pursuing her dream of becoming a singer at the age of 8 when she started singing with the Tampa Bay Childrens Choir. By the time she reached age 11 she had moved on from the children’s choir to the Tampa-based children’s performing arts troupe Entertainment Revue. This group consisted of 20 girls ages 5 to 16 who toured the area and sang at such places as Walt Disney World and Busch Gardens. Willa moved her way up from a chorus member to the role of featured soloist. When Willa was 15 she left the troupe and landed spot with a local foursome called FLA. She didn’t stay long with the group before deciding to head out to Los Angeles.
In 1999 Willa then performing under the stage name Mandah was signed to Music Corporation of America MCA. While with MCA she released a song called Lullaby on the double-platinum soundtrack Pokemon The First Movie. She also landed a spot as an opening act for the Backstreet Boys which brought her attention for her performances as well as her relationship with one of the groups members Nick Carter. Soon Willas label changed her stage name from Mandah to avoid confusion with another female singer to Willa Ford and tried to promote her as a beautiful singer with a good girl image. After some negative publicity that tainted their clean-cut image for Willa MCA decided to drop her letting her move on to a label that would embrace her bad girl image.
While during a mall tour for Nautica Kids Willa was noticed by LavaAtlantic Records. It wasn’t long before LavaAtlantic would give Willa a deal and put her into their recording studio with a diverse variety of writers and producers. Unlike some other teen singers at the time Willa preferred to write most of her lyrics herself as well as executive produce the songs herself.
On July 17 2001 Willa released her debut album Willa Was Here. The album contained the single I Wanna Be Bad. The album used smooth pop/R&B grooves and hot dance beats and vocoders. The album reached 56 on the Billboard 200 album chart and became a multi-platinum smash worldwide.
In 2001 Willa served as the spokesperson for Pantene ProVs ProVoice campaign and appeared on the in-concert cable special Teensation. Also Willa hosted MTVs Total Request Live TRL and Say What Karaoke many times. MTV was impressed by Willas hosting and she received a contract with them.
In 2002 Willa co-wrote and sang a duet with South Korea pop star Park Ji Yoon entitled Nastified which appeared on Parks 5th album Man. Also Willa hosted The Morning After which lasted throughout 2003 along with her debut reality series I Bet You Will. Her song I Wanna Be Bad became the theme song for Six Flags theme parks and was also used by 7 Up for one of their campaigns. Willa also became a model for Bongo ads.
In 2003 Willa came back with a hot dance song that forever immortalized a sorority chant A Toast To Men which featured guest rapper Lady May. The single was from her unreleased sophomore album Sexysexobsessive. The single did well, but because of some legalities at her label her album wasn’t released. This also caused her to leave the label and go in search of a new one.
While fans wait for her sophomore release Willa has kept herself busy outside of music. In 2005 she hosted the first season of the fighting competition reality TV show The Ultimate Fighter. After the shows finale Willa got a shot at being the 2005s summers guest doll for the Las Vegas Pussycat Dolls show.
In 2006 she was one of the four celebrity quarterbacks for the Dallas Desires in the third Lingerie Bowl which was shown on pay-per-view during halftime of Super Bowl XL. In the May 2006 issue of Stuff Magazine, Willa ranked 48 in the supplement 101 Sexiest Online Women.
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