GMO First Look: Carlos Ricketts Jr. Is Ready to Take the Lead

Monday, 08 March 2010 14:56 Written by  Tiffani Alexander

Carlos Ricketts Jr. –– know the name? Ok, what about Mary J. Blige, Patti Labelle, Christina Aguilera, Joe, Kelly Rowland and Everlast? Ring any bells?

MJB and friends know all about this talented singer/songwriter and I think it’s time you get to know him too. Get the 411 on GMO’s “First Look” artist, Carlos.


GLOSSMAGAZINEONLINE (GMO): You’ve been singing since you were a young child. Who inspired you to start singing and writing, and what artists continue to inspire your music?

Carlos Ricketts Jr.: I have been singing since I was 8 years old, mainly just coming up through the church. Who inspired me? It just happened by being in the church choir. The pianist at the time would just pick me out to sing [Laughs]. Really, I believe that music was given to me as a gift to get me through tough times – it was a vehicle that encouraged me to continue on.

Artists who’ve inspired me … I like all kinds of artists. Everyone from like Joni Mitchell to James Taylor… I love Chaka Khan, Abbey Lincoln –– just all kinds of different people. If I hear something in the music that I can relate to, I really consider them an inspiration.

GMO: How would you describe your personal style, and how does that affect your sound?

Carlos: My personal style is not always necessarily what is “in.” It’s really just what I feel comfortable in and it's taken me a long time to get to a point musically where I could just do what’s in my heart and feel comfortable with it. My whole journey as a musician is getting to a point where I’m accepting me as a person and I’m willing to express that openly and honestly through my music.

GMO: If someone were to say, ‘Carlos sounds like ...’ What singer would they name? Or is there anyone that they could name?

Carlos: That’s a good question … I’ll tell you who I don't sound like. I don’t sound like Usher, Trey Songz or anyone like that. I’m pretty much along the lines of a singer/songwriter … I really couldn’t give you an answer of who someone would say I sound like.

GMO: That’s not a bad thing at all.

Carlos: Yeah.

GMO: You've sung background for some big names and written songs for some legends. Who have you worked with that just blew you away, like ‘I can’t believe I’m in the studio with you right now’?

Carlos: The first placement I got was Patti Labelle’s “New Day.” My best friend and I wrote that. When they called us down to Philadelphia to record the vocals; I was in the control room and I was watching her sing the song and I just couldn’t … it was like I wasn’t even there, but I was there. It was a totally new experience because I had seen her so many times and loved everything that she been doing and to see her singing words that I helped to write was just a surreal moment for me.

GMO: What legendary artist would you like to work with? What contemporary artist would you like to get in the booth with?

Carlos: What's crazy is a dream of mine is to sing with Sting. I love Sting and what he does. Rod Stewart … those are some people that I would love to work with singing-wise. Writing-wise, those people as well.

GMO: You've toured with Mary J Blige, Joe and more -- can you share one of your craziest on the road stories?

Carlos: You know, I don’t really have a lot of crazy stories. In working with Mary [J. Blige], her whole camp, a lot of us are married or just settled. Where she is as an artist, is reflective of who she has around her at this point. And we’re all pretty even-tempered and just really there to fulfill what it is that we’re supposed to be doing. I think, the lack of craziness is what’s been surprising and wonderful for me as far as working with her.

GMO: How long have you been working with Mary?

Carlos: It’s been six years. I started touring with her on “Love and Life.” I’ve took a lot from her as far as work ethic, as far as when she is in rehearsal. Like we’re there, and we’re doing the whole show one time through and then we’ll break and do it again. She has a wonderful work ethic and is just genuinely the person that you see; she is that real, real artist.

GMO: Tell me about your single "Playlist" and upcoming album? How would you describe the sound and what was your inspiration? Who did you work with? Where can we find it?

Carlos: I worked with producer Bastiany. We were just having this discussion and started talking about relationships and things like that. To me, “Playlist” is the perfect break-up song. You’ve got to the point where, everything started wonderfully and then the person just started showing parts of themselves that wouldn’t work well with where you’re going, and you’re –– similar to your playlist on iTunes. You can add songs to your playlist and you can delete them. The whole thing is just about moving on. It’s like they were added at that time when everything was great and wonderful and now you’re moving forward, taking them off because you don’t want to hear that, or go through that experience again.

GMO: When will the album drop?

Carlos: I’m shooting for the end of April to have it complete. But right now you can get it on iTunes as well as Rhapsody, Napster –– all those sites or just Google Carlos Ricketts Jr. and you’ll be able to find it.

It’s a dream come true. Being able to travel and write and do all these things with other artists is a wonderful, wonderful experience and a blessing. And it is equally as fulfilling to be able to put out what represents what it is that I would like to do as an artist.

GMO: What's next for you?

Carlos: The album should be done in April so I will definitely keep you posted on when I’m going to release it. And really, if it’s just writing for other people, if it’s touring, as well as working on my own project, you can just always expect from me good music from the heart.

GMO: What advice do you have for aspiring artists - singers and songwriters?

Carlos: As far singers who just want to sing, I would promote just doing that, just sing. No matter what people tell you. It's all a journey as far as starting at one point and getting to another. Just stay encouraged and really sing from your heart. If you have something that’s on your heart to do then just do it.

As far as writing, I would say collaborate with people who are accessible to you and just write for the love of writing. A lot times, writers will write with the goal of, ‘I want to get on so and so’s project.’ Just write good music and everything else will take care of itself – I believe.

Last Words: As an artist, I believe that I’m here to encourage those who may not feel like they have everything it takes to do, whatever it is that they’re doing. Just be the best at whatever you have been given to do. When I say what you’ve been given to do, we've all been given gifts that we are put here on earth to share with others, to encourage and to uplift, no matter what that is –– just stay encouraged and push through the negative and do what it is that you’re purposed to do.

Who You With?

Who Carlos has toured with: Mary J. Blige, Christina Aguilera, Kelly Rowland, Joe and more.

Who Carlos has co-written songs for (with BFF Tiffany Palmer): Anita Baker, Patti LaBelle, Walter Beasley and Stacie Orrico.

Who Carlos has appeared on record with (that may surprise you): George Benson, Everlast, Willie Nelson and the Killers.

Find out more about Carlos Ricketts Jr. and download the hot new single “Playlist” here:





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Tiffani Alexander

Tiffani Alexander

Publisher and Editor in Chief of (GMO), Tiffani Alexander came to Chicago in the fall of 2004 to pursue her Master's degree in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management at Columbia College Chicago. Tiffani earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from the University of
 Maryland, College Park. She has worked for both Cygnus Business Media and Maher Publishing before embarking on her dream to start her own magazine. In addition to publishing GMO bi-monthly, Tiffani freelances and works as an editor on a legal journal in Washington, DC.


Tiffani can be contacted at

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