Glen Ricks Interview
Sensational singer Glen Ricks is back! After taking a hiatus for some years due to numerous challenges, the singer has returned to the studio working on productions, such as the fiery hot single ‘Sorry My Love’ that was recently released from his upcoming album entitled “MOOD FOR LOVE“.
Glennon Ricketts or Glen Ricks as we refer to him was born in Kingston, Jamaica and migrated to Canada with his parents in 1967, where attended Kitchener Waterloo Collegiate Institute. Prior to his migration to Ontario he learned to play the recorder and violin and during high school in Kitchener he sang with various high school bands, after high school he decided to pursue a career in music in Toronto.
We caught up with Glen Ricks through his producer Saunjay Tripple Ace Kerr and conducted a short interview with the artiste:
1. Where do you currently reside? PORTMORE JAMAICA BUT I’M ORIGINALLY FROM TORRINGTON BRIDGE, KINGSTON JAMAICA.
2. When and why did you start doing music professionally? I STARTED SINGING PROFESSIONALLY IN 1969. I WAS RECRUITED BY THE FABULOUS FLAMES TO LEAD SING FOR THEIR GROUP. AFTER DOING AN AUDITION WE SCORED A BIG HIT “HOLLY HOLY” AND FROM THEN I BEGAN TAKING MUSIC MORE SERIOUSLY.
3. What inspired your decision to do music? I WASN’T SO MUCH A BRIGHT STUDENT IN SCHOOL NOR DID I LIKE TO DO TOO MUCH BOOK WORK, SO I BEGAN MESSING AROUND WITH INSTRUMENTS AND FOUND I WAS GOOD AT IT AND REST IS HISTORY LOL.
4. Which musician/singers influenced your music? NEIL DIAMOND, DONNY HATHAWAY, NATALI COLE, POINTER SISTERS, DENNIS BROWN TO NAME A FEW.
5. Do you play any musical instruments? YES I CAN PLAY KEYBOARDS, GUITARS, BASS, FLUTE AND OTHER WIND INSTRUMENTS.
6. What musical genre/s do you perform? SOUL, FUNK, R&B, REGGAE, GOSPEL, JAZZ.
7. Do you write your own songs? YES, I WRITE MY OWN SONGS, BUT HAVE ALSO TAKEN SONGS FROM OTHER WRITER AS WELL.
8. Which producer/s have you worked with to date? SLY AND ROBBIE, BOBBY DIGITAL, PHILLIP ‘FATTIES’ BURRELL, JAMMYS, EDDIE BULLEN, SAUNJAY “TRIPLE ACE” KERR AND MANY OTHERS.
9. Name some of the songs you have recorded. I FOUND A LOVE, HEART OF MY WORLD, I GOT SOMETHING FOR MY BABY, HOLLY HOLY, SITTING IN THE BACKSEAT, HOW CAN I FORGET.
10. Which events have you performed on locally/internationally? REGGAE SUNSPLASH IN THE 1980s, OVERSEAS I’VE TOURED USA AND CANADA WITH POINTER SISTERS, NATALIE COLE, TEMPTATIONS, TINA CHARLES, CELINE DION, KOOL AND THE GANG, THE SPINNERS, LOLITTA HOLLOWAY, HEATWAVE AND ROD TEMPERTON AND MORE.
11. Which artistes have you collaborate with? PURPLEMAN AND EEKA MOUSE.
12. Which other artistes would you be willing to collaborate with? I LIKE A FEW OF THE ARTISTS NOWADAYS LIKE CHRONIXX, VETERANS LIKE ERNEST WILSON, LINVAL THOMPSON AND BERES HAMMOND.
13. What are some of the challenges you have faced in the entertainment industry since the start of your career? I WOULD SAY GETTING MY PAY FROM VARIOUS PERSONS AT TIMES IS MY BIGGEST CHALLENGE, IN JAMAICA EVERYONE WOULD LIKE TO USE YOU IF THEY CAN BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO RESPECT FOR THE WORKS I’VE PUT IN.
14. If there was a time before you were discovered that you felt frustrated, what was the thing or things that uplifted you or “got you over the hump” and ultimately led to your career success? MY MOTHER WAS THE ONE WHO ALWAYS INSPIRED AND LIFT MY SPIRIT AND THE BIBLE.
15. What can fans expect from you in terms of stage performances and new releases? MUCH MORE CLASSICS AS I’VE ALWAYS DELIVERED OVER THE YEARS.
More about GLEN RICKS
In Toronto in 1969 he entered a talent contest where he competed against a trio originally from Jamaica called “The Fabulous Flames” who won first place in the contest. They struck up a relationship and decided to pool their various talents and expanded it to incorporate the art of dancing along with their singing talents in their performances. They taught Glen the art of dance and he enhanced their vocal talents. The group maintained their name and the partnership was fruitful and evolved in the group becoming popular on the music scene in Jamaica and Canada, the Flames as their fans affectionately called them were one of the first musical artists to attain this status. They did their first recording “Holy Holy” the Neil Diamond cover and the song became a big hit in Jamaica, Canada and the UK. The second single from the ensuing album “Growing Up” produced another hit. Glen also began to perform as a solo act and became the number one act on the north coast in Jamaica.
Glen envisioned opportunities beyond the Flames and Jamaica, driven to expand his musical repertoire and to create the kind of music that he had relished for a long time. He traveled to the United States in a pursuit of a solo career and while in Chicago he met one of his idols Donny Hathaway who took his music and talent to another level. After being under the watchful eye of Hathaway, Glen decided to return to Toronto and join the group named “Crack of Dawn” becoming the driving force behind the band. The band claimed notoriety within Canada resulting in a CBS Recording contract. Several hits resulted from the group including Bobbie Ruby, “It’s Alright”, and “Keep the Faith”. The group dismantled when they could not fulfill the obligation for a second album.
Glen was now a solo artist signed with CBS and release two singles, “I got something for My Baby”, and “Oh What a Big World”. After CBS he joined Filthy Rich a Toronto based independent label where he produces the album “Heart of my World”. The single from the album became number 1 in Jamaica and in 1986 he joined the Pointer Sisters on tour across Canada and recorded the album “I Found a Love” which garnered worldwide acclaim and was nominated for a JUNO award. Glen also performed on the same billing with major acts consisting of the likes of Kool and the Gang, The Spinners, Lolita Holloway, The Pointer Sisters, The Temptations, Natalie Cole and Patti Labelle in naming a few.
In 1990 Glen moved again to Jamaica where he recorded for the likes of producers Sly and Robbie, Bobby Digital, and Phillip ‘Fatties’ Burrell. Known as Al Green of Jamaica, and a close friend of Dennis Brown, together they would join forces to bring out his unbelievable talent. While in Jamaica he had a string of hits such as “How Can I Forget”, “Sitting in the Back Seat”, “Falling in Love”, “If Loving You is Wrong” and “Keep on Dancing”.
Glen also recorded one of the strong title for the album of Big Men, the R&B song “Never Gonna Let You Go” with a version featuring Djelloul becoming a big hit in the Arab Nations. Another fine example of Glen’s influence in the music industry was his co-producing of another of Dennis Brown’s album Vision of a Reggae King, with Anthony Cameron as his co-producer and songwriter for the album. Glen, whose own luminescent keyboard licks across a clutch of numbers, oversaw a superb cultural set; all backed by richly melodic riffs with brash lit dancehall “riddims”, this album was a cultural masterpiece for the dancehall generation. He also released a well-received album on the Ras Label records “Ready for Love”. “Glen mixes hard digitized beats courtesy of producers like the above with romantic balladry. Though he was raised in Canada, his return to Jamaica brought back his soulful singing to his native Jamaica.”