by Marialena Rago
There are many talented performers from around the country who are on the cusp of becoming Broadway stars. One such performer is Ian Coulter-Buford from Belleville, Illinois. According to his family, Coulter-Buford has loved performing since the age of three. He got his start at his local church and at the age of 12 he was accepted into The Muny’s Youth Training program in St. Louis, Missouri. “Every summer until 19 that was my home away from home,” he says.
After his time at The Muny, he continued his training at Illinois Wesleyan University with a B.F.A. in Music Theatre. Since, Coulter-Buford has been in many TV shows and theater productions across the country. “I enjoy exploring countries and cities I have never been to before, meeting the community, and going to the local non-tourist spots. Also having traveled internationally, I also love how storytelling transcends through language barriers, it’s really extraordinary and a true human moment.”
What makes him on the cusp of making a trip to the Great White Way is his incredible voice. (He was most likely to win a Grammy in his high school yearbook). In 2017 he released “Live 4 Now”, a Dance-Pop-Soul EP. “My album was a couple of years in the making. I’ve always written whether it be via a journal, songs, or poems. The EP became a conceived structured thought in 2016 and here we are with a great project and 2 music visuals, it’s my baby.”
Coulter-Buford says his music is inspired by many things, like “nature, God, love, someone else’s story, the next generation, it could be really anything.” And that “an idea can come at the drop of a hat, so I really try to keep my ears and heart open to receiving those ideas.”
Coulter-Buford is not just a recording artist and actor, he is also a choreographer. But there is one more description he would like to add; Broadway performer .“In the past, I had this mentality that made me believe that I didn’t deserve to be there. I also didn’t feel like I identified with a show when I first moved here. Now I am at a place where I know who I am and what I bring to the table. I am now ready and in expectancy.”
Currently, he is in Colorado as Archie Stone in TRAV’LIN -- The 1930’s Harlem Musical at the Arvada Center. Coulter-Buford has been in many musicals that many people have never heard of before or are originals in development. "Being in a show that is completely new is great because the role is based on me and what I do best. It can also be complex because there are a plethora of ways to go about building a character. However, that’s when collaboration comes into play and the team and actor come together to piece together the best ideas."
There are some shows that he has been in that he would love see transfer to Broadway. Shows like Fat Kid Rules the World, which is the story of a suicidal, 296 pound teen, Troy Billings, who befriends a local guitar legend, Curt MacCrae, who insists that they form a band together. He would also like to see Trav'lin on the stage as well. He says they are two totally different stories, "but great shows in their own right."
You can find Coulter-Buford's music on all streaming platforms and in "Outcast", a Youtube musical series.