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Living la vida Ricky

Kimberley Cummins

Living la vida Ricky

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After more than half his life spent in the spotlight, the passion for the stage still burns deep within Ricky Stoute. Talented son of one of Barbados’ most recognised entertainers and promoters, Richard Stoute, Ricky has carved a niche for himself as a dancer and singer before global audiences.

Presently on tour in Greece, Ricky recently came back to the island for a rare guest performance at his father’s long-running Teen Talent Contest and he told EASY magazine he had no plans of slowing down just yet.

Indeed, the 46-year-old revealed he was shifting gears as he revved up with several new projects in the works.

The singer, songwriter, producer and all-round artiste said he has launched a new single on iTunes called King Of The World, which was doing really well, and he was also working on an album due to be released soon.

How does he manage to remain relevant for so long in such a fast-paced and ever-evolving music scene? The singer had one simple answer: passion.

He explained that with sheer passion all other elements to build a successful career, such as hard work, dedication and plenty sacrifice would follow.

Ricky was born and raised in the heart of the island in the parish of St Michael, and one might believe that with Richard Stoute as a father and as a child being surrounded by music daily, he was virtually destined to also pursue a career in the entertainment business. But that really wasn’t necessarily the case.

Stoute laughed loudly as he tried in vain to remember what career  he wanted to pursue as a youngster before the music bug bit. He recounted that it was the passion felt when watching his dad perform that led a then six–year–old to pick up a microphone for the first time and take to a stage to entertain an audience with his unique sound.

Later, there was no escaping from his number one love as he would ultimately move on to the Teen Talent Contest where he and fellow entertainer Kim Derrick gave several memorable performances with their extraordinary blended vocals. His following began to grow from then but it can be said that Ricky really broke from his father’s shadow in 1997 when he won the CBU Song Contest with the incredibly catchy Island Woman.

“‘Some people like coffee, some people like tea’. That was definitely a turning point for me,” Stoute recalled as he smiled broadly.

Striking one of a number of “Zoolander-esque” impressions as adoring fans passed calling to him, Stoute said two years later he would record another single Knock Me and this was when his story started to take another turn.

Classically trained in ballet, modern, jazz and Afro-Caribbean dance, Stoute packed his bags and moved to Europe to expand his repertoire. Immediately he landed the role, Simba, lead character Simba in the highly acclaimed Disney musical The Lion King, where he put his talents of dance and song to the test.

This was so successful for the gifted Bajan that, as the cliché goes, the rest is history. He has also appeared in the lead role of the South African musical African Footprint and among some of the world renowned acts he has worked with include saxophonist Gary Barnacle (Tina Turner, Level 42) and guitarist Brian May (Queen, Michael Jackson), singers Jocelyn Brown, Joss Stone, Bonnie Tyler, Jamila, Rihanna and he also sang a duet with Mel C of Spice Girls fame for the charity show Hard Rock Cafe Pinktober at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Fast forward and Stoute is still very busy. He told EASY he has however put his days of musicals behind him and he was refocused on completing his double CD album with 12 tracks on each side, in which he hoped to pay homage to his homeland.

“This album was in the making for the past 12 years. The simple reason it got put off was because I was doing Lion King and then another musical. But I have decided that I’ve had enough of musicals and I started back this project about two years ago.

“It is comprised of gospel house music – that means the vocals are very gospel-powerful and full of passion with a house music feel. So you know it will be something special.

“What is even more great about it is that one of the CDs would have covers all of the greatest hits from Barbadian artistes like my father, Cheryl Hackett, Midge Springer – all the greats – and I am currently looking to take another artiste from here to do it in a duet form,” Stoute said.

On the topic of aspiring artistes, he said this was another area he felt passionately about developing, and he called for people to do more for local music and local acts. He said he was saddened that a new generation of talented Barbadian artistes were not getting enough opportunities and exposure to let their skills shine.

“I love local music but there is nowhere to go and hear local talent and for me that is sad. I love to support local. You have all this talent and no one is helping them.

“I couldn’t come back here and continue my work when there is no platform for it. And when you go to companies or emerging companies they don’t want to help you. The only way you can survive in Barbados as an entertainer in my opinion is at Crop Over and that is not fair. Crop Over should not be just about people coming around, sitting down and writing songs just for 15 minutes of fame,” he stressed. (SDB)