Ricky Godinez, then touring as Ricky G, hit the music scene 1997 with his band No Authority. The band was signed to Michael Jackson’s MJJJ label, and even debuted their first album, “Keep On” (produced by Rodney Jenkins) at Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. Later the band toured with Destiny’s Child, and Aaron Carter, among others.
They signed with Madonna’s Maverick label in 2000, where they released their eponymous album, reaching #18 on the Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart, and single, “Can I Get Your Number” reached number 33 on the Billboard Top 40. “I’m Telling You This” featured on the soundtrack to “Rugrats in Paris” in 2000. No Authority also toured with Britney Spears on her “Oops I Did it Again” tour that year.
Ricky re-emerged as front man for “Harlow”, serving as lead vocalist from 2004-2009, and can be found on the soundtracks of films including “Apollo 13”, “Anywhere But Here”, and “Anastasia”. Not content to merely be a singer, Ricky has also added acting to the many strings on his bow, appearing on TV in “American Dreams”, “Boston Public” and “Audrina”. Additionally he starred in Debbie Allen’s ballet, “Pepito’s Story”, that opened at the Kennedy Center in New York City.
In 2011 Ricky G, now Ricky Rebel, released his “Manipulator” album, which featured songs, “Geisha Dance”, “Get it On”, “You Need a Woman”, and title track, “Manipulator”. He released his second solo work, “The Blue Album” in July this year.
Ricky’s come a long way since his boy band beginnings, and in talking to So So Gay last year about his career explained:
‘The label wanted only name writers like Rodney Jerkins, who’s worked with Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga and Beyonce, to write and produce our first album. The music I make now is 100% ‘my work’, being that I write it, produce it, sing it, and perform it live. There are no strings attached to me. I am truly an independent artist, Self-manufactured.”
Regular readers will know that Essentially Pop is all about the indepependent artist. With that in mind, we bring you our interview.
Describe Ricky Rebel: what makes you tick?
I’m a very passionate person. Performing is what I love to do. I come alive when I’m on stage. I hear the music and become another person. I literally go from Ricky to the “REBEL” the second I step onstage.
If you had your time over again, would you have come out to your fans straight away?
When I was signed to Madonna’s label, I really did not want to do anything to jeopardize that. Being “out” wasn’t as excepted in the mainstream media like it is today. I had some really nasty producers tell me that I was never going to make it if people knew that I liked guys and that I was going to go to hell if I didn’t stop my wicked lifestyle. What’s ironic about it all is that I have always been attracted to girls. It wasn’t until later in my life that I liked boys too. I am a late gay bloomer. My sexuality has evolved over time. I even wrote about it in my new song “Boys & Sometimes Girls.” I am attracted to both sexes which made my case a particularly unique one.
What was the advice Michael Jackson gave you?
Michael Jackson did give me some advice. He told me to stay away from girls because they break bands up. I thought at the time that it was pretty harsh advice. I know now why he said that. If you want to make it in the industry you have to be married to your work. I have been very lucky though and have been fortunate enough to have found very supportive lovers. I believe that you can have a successful career and a healthy relationship. It’s all about balance.
Who and what do you cite as your major influences? Style icons?
I am obviously influenced by artists that have a flair for image and fashion like David Bowie, Madonna, Gaga, etc. Musically, I am currently influenced heavily by DJs. I’m loving Diplo, Steve Aoki, Skrillex, Calvin Harris, etc. I’d love for one of those guys to one day remix my music. That’d be amazing.
Talk us through “The Blue Album”.
“The Blue Album” is a journey of decadent, glam-pop rebel-tracks. The songs are musical stories of love, loss, ambition, inspiration, rebellion, salvation and living unapologetically without fear. The collection is also a reflective look at the events that have shaped my life after dying my hair blue.
My life changed dramatically when I turned my hair blue. Blue is associated with healing elements of the sky and heavens. Blue is beautiful, but it’s also associated with dark feelings and depression. I created an album that reflected all of the complexities of the color. There are light-blue and dark-blue sides to the album.
My album opens with “Star” then dips into the emotional highs and lows through songs including “Boys And Sometimes Girls” in which I write about a rather “freaky problem” that I have. Another track on the album called “Around the World (Sekaijū No)” is a nod to my deep love of Japanese culture. “Rebel the Darkness” is a track that I dedicated to the LGBT community that encourages people to take a stand for those who are afraid to stand on their own. Ultimately, my message to my fans is to rebel against the darkness and shine your light.
Our next show is going to be on Halloween night October 31 in West Hollywood CA. We are performing at the biggest outdoor Halloween Party in the world, The West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval. 500,000 people attend this event every year. I also have a guest artist joining us live onstage to sing “Boys & Sometimes Girls” – Kelly Mantle from Rupaul’s DragRace. I am super excited.
Watch the official video for Ricky’s song, “Savior”!
Ricky spoke to Lisa Hafey