Ricky Dillard might not be the best cook, but he is one of the best stage performers across genres, and his laidback persona ensures his clothes do more of the talking.
Dillard has certainly started a revolution. One that is sweeping through cities and erasing the divisive lines that keep people and cultures apart. His mission over the decades have been to spread the good news of Christ louder than ever through songs of power and upliftment.
His musical journey started in the '90s when he started issuing solo albums -- supported by his New Generation ensemble, later shortened to New G -- that often merged gospel with dance music. Ever since then, Dillard and New G have been influencing choirs and ensembles all over the world and have been singing their way into the hearts of many.
So what's next for the multi-award-winning artist? He is on the star-studded line up for the McDonald's 2018 Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour that starts this Saturday in New Jersey. It is free and promises to be unforgettable.
Recently I caught up with the excitable gospel energizer bunny and powerhouse artist to talk about his trendsetting ways and his music. Here goes!
Harvest Magazine (HM): The McDonald Gospel Tour is about to start. What can we expect?
Ricky Dillard (RD): Those of you who know me know that I am a worshipper. I am coming to this tour to bring a more traditional sound, and, of course, we are looking forward to having church. My hope is for people to leave empowered, encouraged and enlightened.
HM: The Album 10 was released in February, how as it been since then?
RD: I must say that It has been a blessing ever since. New G and I have been working and touring extensively because of the album 10 and it is indeed one of the most enlightening projects that I have ever done. When we decided to record this album, the main aim was to put something together that would encourage and restore – and I think God did just that.
HM: You have been in the business for three decades and counting. What keeps you going?
RD: Well, firstly, it is the joy of the lord that has been keeping me. My passion for service and ministry is also something that keeps me driven. Serving at my local church also gives me great Joy and is a booster for me when its time to minister with New G. In addition, seeing the musicians and singers of New G growing in their own ministries encourages me to go on. Some have become worship leaders, educators, husband, wives and even recording artists.
HM: “I’ve Got the Victory” is the name of your latest single. Tell me the story behind this song?
RD: 1st Corinthians 15:57 states: “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” With this said, to be honest with you, this song was one of the last songs to be added to the repertoire. It is no secret that we are living in perilous times - from shootings in churches and schools to other social unrest. It is only by his grace and his mercies why we are still here today. The song perfectly sums this up and Lillian Lloyd aided in bringing it to life.
HM: You seem to always get it right with Lillian Lloyd. Can you safely say that she’s a hit aider, and why?
RD: She definitely is! She is power packed and greatness is the order of her game. I can give Lilly a song and she would always go home, do her homework, and come back to me with something incredible! She has that special effect to make the songs come alive by infusing her personal experiences and how she overcame. Here we are now with “I’ve Got the Victory” featuring Lillian Lloyd and it is taking off.
HM: Who is your favourite featured artist throughout the decades?
RD: Whoooo, this is very hard (laughs). But, recently I love the collaboration I did with Le’Andria Johnson who is a true beast. She never seems to disappoint. She will take your song and the glory of God will come down when she sings it.
HM: The Stellar Gospel Music Awards happened over a month ago. What did you enjoy most about it?
RD: I am grateful to have been invited to come back and perform with New G. This year I wanted to bring something not normally seen on the stellar awards stage. So, I decided to incorporate all the elements of old school church on in the performance, and my vision came to life through the ministry of “I See Victory” – and you know what, God showed up and showed out.
HM: What does Ricky Dillard like to do for fun?
RD: I would like to say that I am a homebody. But I love amusement parks, travelling and shopping. I am not much of a cook, but I love to dine at different restaurants. Directing my choir New G is also something I enjoy doing.
HM: What or who is the inspiration behind your style?
RD: Well, my style generates from those from the past. Visionaries like Rev Milton Brunson and Tyrone Block have influenced my style. I must also give credit to Donald Lawrence who is a great inspiration to me presently.