Divine is thrilled to announce they recently got together with the fabulous Ricky Rebel to ask him a few questions about his career, some notable events and generally get to know a bit more of the man behind the mystique.
Ricky is multi-talented, having fronted notable bands like No Authority, he’s studied jazz and ballet, performed in stage musicals, and in his earlier years he was a gymnast, ranked 15 in the state of California by the age of eleven. He’s sung with many others including Brittany Spears, and My Chemical Romance, and Destiny’s Child. He’s a fierce advocate of LGBTQ rights and participates in many Gay Pride and Out At The Fair festivals.
Ricky’s new album, “The New Alpha”, is another glam album with plenty of club-banging tracks
The first single, the title track, features ex Adam Lambert guitarist Tommy Joe Ratliff
“The New Alpha” single is a social commentary that says that The New Alpha man embraces both his masculine and feminine side and, like Bowie, it’s ok for men to wear makeup and heels.
Now, his current single from “The New Alpha” album is “Life Is a Runway” featuring RuPaul’s Drag Racer Vivacious
We asked Ricky to answer a few silly questions before moving onto other questions….
If you were a superhero what powers would you have?
The ability to absorb other people’s powers.
Do you have a cherished childhood teddy-bear?
No, but my man and I have a stuffed turtle that we call Tortuga. Tortuga also has a sister named Shelly.
What’s your favorite pizza topping?
What’s your favorite Milkshake flavor?
What horror fiction character scares you the most?
Now we’ve delved into you as a person, let’s find out a little more now about Ricky, the artist.
Your music is said to be a mix of dance and electro-pop, R&B, and a little folk mixed in. How have you evolved to encompass the sound you have today?
I started out in a pop group called ‘No Authority.’ We were discovered by Michael Jackson and made an R&B record with Rodney Jerkins called “Keep On.” Later we got signed to Madonna’s label and made a self-titled pop record with a hit called “Can I Get Your Number Baby.” We toured with Britney Spears. It was around that time I picked up the guitar and started writing songs. The pop group years were like my musical college. I was introduced to various styles and worked with legends that taught me the ropes of singing, song-writing, and production.
Who were your influencers from the beginning and what was it about them that made you love their music?
Madonna has always been a big influence. I also love Prince, Michael Jackson, and David Bowie. I love their strong image and stage presence as much as I love their music. To be a great artist, in my eyes, you have to have a balance of both.
It’s cited that you were censored in the earlier days when you fronted the band Harlow, in that there appeared to be a requirement from them to play down your status as an openly gay musician, to the extent of reading bible verses to you in a locked room and telling you you’d go to hell. Do you think the music industry has become more liberal in their stance today?
I definitely do think that society as a whole has evolved to the point of understanding that the LGBT community actually exists and that most of us are kind people. I still don’t see openly LGBT pop songs #1 on the charts though. There’s a big separation in the market. “He’s a DJ versus he’s a gay DJ” is the difference between getting paid millions for a gig or just thousands. In my career, people in the industry have advised me not to “play to the gay market” however my most successful song that just recently got placed in the Facebook Watch original series “Queen America” starring Catherine Zeta Jones is a track called “Boys & Sometimes Girls” a bisexual dance party anthem. I think telling the truth is always the best way to go.
If you could perform with any musician, alive or dead, who would you choose and why? (I personally would have loved to see you perform with David Bowie…)
You nailed it. David Bowie and I could have come up with something great. I particularly like his earlier work as a dancer too. The rock dance combination would have been a nice project to collaborate with him on.
You’ve shown there’s room out there for men to ‘embrace their masculine and feminine side, and your new single, “The New Alpha” is a social commentary that says it’s ok for men to wear makeup and heels. Do you think this message is making its way out into the world to empower young men to do the same?
I wrote “The New Alpha” because I was seeing a trend in an overly politically correct world. In order to survive we must maintain balance. It’s not healthy to be overly aggressive just as much as it is to be overly passive. I wrote the record to proclaim that I am proud to be all man. A man that uses makeup and fashion to express my creativity. Many of my young male fans especially like the fact that I’m proud to be a man. They want to express themselves in a similar fashion but do not want to lose their “manliness.” I teach them that they can have both.
I have to ask – my favorite recording artist is Adam Lambert and I’m rather a Glambert. I understand you and he is good friends and occasionally you may share clothes? Tell us a bit about this.
When we were growing up together in the Los Angeles area, I had a gig at the Roxy and I had nothing cool to wear. I called him up and asked him if I could raid his closet. He said “absolutely!” One condition though, I had to re-feather his favorite coat. I remember the day that he invited a group of friends to come over and watch his first performance on American Idol. I sat next to him and we all cheered when he sang. I knew that normal life was over for him, he was going to be a big star.
Finally, what’s next for you? Do you have any plans to come to the UK and perform because I’d love to see you in concert over here.
Absolutely, I was in the UK last year in December. I had a blast. My goal for next year is to book more gigs around the world. I love touring.
A couple of fun facts to tell you about Ricky.
What do Kendall Jenner and Ricky have in common? Both cat-walked for designer Tumbler and Tipsy at Los Angeles Fashion Week.
Ricky has a strong dance background and is one of the backup dancers in the opening sequence of the original Austin Powers movie.
Ricky, thanks so much for chatting to us. We wish you all the best for your future career plans.
Where to find Ricky –
This interview was written by our Editor in Chief Susan Mac Nicol