Ricky Barnett: The Jamaican-born London-based R&B gospel artist

Saturday 1st June 1996

Joanna Thomas talks to the R&B gospel singer/songwriter RICKY BARNETT about his self financed debut album.

Ricky Barnett
Ricky Barnett

Nestling in the CD racks this month is the debut album by Jamaican-born, London-based singer/songwriter Ricky Barnett. After experimenting musically for many years, he's finally taken the plunge into the market place with his self financed 'You're Never Alone'. There's no doubt where this guy is coming from, Ricky's love for God pervades his music and it's this passion that motivates him in the writing of his lyrics. "Each day I live, I look for new inspiration, a new vision," says Ricky. "I might be walking along the road or at work, a word comes with a melody and I'll work on it."

Although heavily influenced by reggae and soul he doesn't want to limit his style but remain flexible enough for wide appeal. "There's something in my music for everybody," comments Ricky, "all kinds of people have been moved. I like all contemporary music, reggae, soul, rap, all kinds of styles. It's not just one kind of music that reaches the people, there's quite a few influences going around."

Ricky's musical gifting came to the forefront of his life when he found himself out of work. Showing initiative and determination he seized the opportunity by pulling together time and resources to pursue his musical career. By getting together with friends, Paul and Janet Rose, who sang backing vocals, and Eric CaIIame , (programmer/ keyboards), Ricky's songs came to life.

Despite being on a roller coaster of creativity, Ricky's roots are firmly in his home church, The New Testament Church, Lee, Lewisham. It wasn't always that way though. Brought up in a Christian environment in the West Indies and then moving to England in 1970, Ricky hadn't found faith for himself. It wasn't until there was a crusade in the church, six years ago, that Ricky gave his life to God..

"I've been through some difficult situations," Ricky confides. "Friends can forsake you, but no matter who's against you, the Lord won't forsake you. God is always with you.

It's evident from just talking to Ricky that he's got loads of commitment. It's no small thing getting an album together. Channelling his energy into his ministry has given him the desire to reach the nations with the gospel. Says Ricky, "There's a great need to spread the Gospel. This world's upside down with people doing all kinds of things to their minds and bodies. God has given me a gift. I've a lot to give. I like it when people actually come to the Lord."

Ricky's excited by pioneering work in the Christian music scene. "It would be a good thing for gospel music to be on the radio and television right through the week. It should be alongside the secular."

He's also keen to snap up any offers that will further his chances to share some of the life that's bubbling out of him. "I'm concentrating on promotional work at the moment," Ricky comments. "I've a few dates coming up. My priority is to use my music to reach people."

There's one thing you can be sure of Ricky, and that is you're not working alone. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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