Rik Rok rocketed to stardom neglecting the instructions of denial dispensed by Reggae Pop sensation Shaggy on their number one hit It Wasnt Me. Ignoring Shaggys advice and admitting his romantic indiscretions, earned the heretofore-unknown singer/songwriter a presence on music charts around the world, creating a demand for his own debut solo album, which is scheduled for release in 2003.
Rik Rok was born Rickardo George Ducent in London, England on June 17, 1972. His parents migrated from Jamaica to England in the mid-60s in search of greater economic opportunities but never lost touch with their roots. Jamaican music played a great role in Rik Roks childhood. When I was growing up it was pretty much Jamaican people who came over, he recalls. My father was a big Reggae fan, especially of (singers) Gregory Isaacs, John Holt and Dennis Brown. He had a big record collection and on Sundays he would play music all day at home. The romantic Reggae crooners Rik Rok heard in his childhood and his love of R&B, influenced the honeyed singing style he now possesses.
Rik Rok was 11 years old when he returned to Jamaica with his family. While attending high school there, he discovered his singing talent and soon realized he had a flair for songwriting too. One day I was listening to Babyfaces Tender Lover album and I remember thinking, I could probably be a songwriter, Rik Rok says. So I wrote a song, put it down, came back to it and tried it again. Then I started writing more and more songs. I wasnt really good at it at first; some of them were really corny, really stupid. But it was just a hobby and I never thought anything would come from it because it seemed like a completely unreachable dream being in the music business.
After completing high school, Rik Rok enrolled in Jamaicas University of the West Indies but never abandoned his musical aspirations, entering several school talent shows and receiving very enthusiastic responses. In 1992, Rik Rok was reintroduced to a high school friend, Nigel Staff, who was touring as the keyboard player with Dancehall Reggae superstar Shabba Ranks. He told Staff he wanted to be in the music industry and sang him a song he had written. Staff promptly took Rik Rok to Kingstons Grafton Recording Studios, owned and operated by prominent Jamaican producer Mikey Bennett. Rik Rok cites this moment as my formal introduction to the music industry. Mikey asked to hear some of the aspiring artists songs so Rik Rok performed a few of the selections he had written in his post-it pad size songbook; Mikey liked what he heard. He asked me to sing a few songs because songwriters will have one real nice song but youll never get them to make another one, Rik Rok explains. I call the Grafton Studio my school because thats where I improved my writing and singing skills that werent all that great to begin with.
Rik Roks musical career was stalled for the next few years but in 1995 he embarked on his first tour as a back-up singer for Dancehall diva Patra, where he gained invaluable stage experience. When that tour ended, Rik Rok returned to UWI to complete his education. Another career lull ensued so he applied for a few jobs while simultaneously trying to secure studio work as a back up vocalist. After a brief stint performing with the Jamaican R&B/Reggae vocal quartet LUST, Rik Rok was offered a songwriting deal by Shaggys manager, Robert Livingston. He would write songs, create rhythms on his home computer and send the demos to Livingston in New York. When Shaggy commenced work on his Hot Shot album, Rik Rok played a pivotal role in the songwriting process. However, singing lead on It Wasnt Me, one of the biggest hits of late 2000/2001, starring in the songs equally popular video, as well as performing to stadium sized crowds throughout the summer of 2001 were never part of Rik Roks plan. This is my first mainstream thing and its huge! he exclaims. But I never intended to be anything more than a behind-the-scenes guy, I was contented with songwriting and singing background and making beats at home. I had a distant dream that I should be a singer but I wasnt really impressed with my voice. But when writing with Shaggy, if there was a part for a singer, I would sing that. Sting International, who produces for Shaggy said, Lets use Ricky on It Wasnt Me and I thought that would be cool to have a song on Shaggys album. Rik Rok sang and co-wrote, It Wasnt Me and Chica Bonita with Shaggy and shared co-writing credits on an additional six of Hot Shots 14 songs.
Hot Shot has sold more than 10,000,000 copies worldwide, providing Rik Rok with a huge international fan base that eagerly await the release of his debut album. The as yet untitled work will be released on the Big Yard label, which is owned by Shaggy, Robert Livingston and Sting International, and distributed by MCA Records. Rik Rok will be utilizing primarily the same songwriting/production team that earned Hot Shot its staggering multi-platinum sales status but his unique artistry renders his debut venture with an entirely different sound. When Shaggy was doing his album, he liked to take charge because hes the one who was going to be performing the songs and he said that I should do the same thing with mine, Rik Rok remarks. I am making a conscious effort to make my album not sound like anything thats out there and address a whole variety of topics. Im a corny guy; I like romantic, cleverly written love songs. I used to listen to Lionel Richie, Diana Ross, the Bee Gees, Christopher Cross, where you get these nice melodies and subject matter that you can say, Yeah, this person knows exactly what I am talking about. The thing with their songs is they usually avoid slang or phrases that would put the song in a particular time frame so you can sing that song today and it still applies.
For his upcoming debut, Rik Rok has recorded tracks with Brian and Tony Gold and Prince Mydas and plans to do so with Marsha (whose answer to It Wasnt Me was also a significant hit), all Big Yard artists whose solo albums are also scheduled for release in 2003. Its all about breaking the Big Yard family, Rik Rok concludes and the Hot Shot album was a launching pad for all of us. We want to keep promoting Big Yard for the benefit of the whole crew and hopefully I can do for them what Shaggy did for me.