Ricky Dillard: America’s Choir Master
Ricky Dillard is on top of the world. His latest song, “Amazing,” is number-one on the Billboard Gospel Airplay chart.
The former member of Grammy Award Thompson Community Singers was also handpicked to be a consultant for the PBS special Going Home Gospel featuring Patti LaBelle and Albertina Walker, as well as Sister Act II with Whoopi Goldberg.
His Stellar Award-winning group New G has delivered favorites including “More Abundantly,” “The Promise,” and “HolyGhost Takeover.” Dillard recently took time from his busy schedule as music director at the historic Ebenezer AME Church in Fort Washington, Maryland to discuss New G, his commitment to the choir and why his latest single helped him overcome depression.
JET: Why do you feel the choir is still relevant?
Ricky Dillard: In every church there is a choir. It is still relevant. In the Bible, it was relevant as well. You had David and Moses who all had choirs as well. We want to definitely continue this legacy of Rev. Milton Brunson, Dr. Mattie Moss Clark and Dr. Charles G. Hayes. When people say the choir seems to have been a past thing…I say it’s almost like seasons. You have winter, spring, summer and fall. Believe me, the choir is not going anywhere as long as I’m alive. The Lord has given me this assignment and we will stand the test of time and wait for everybody else to get on board because we’re not going nowhere…
JET: Tell us about the song “Amazing.”
RD: I had gone through a period of depression and I didn’t know where my career was going. I saw that the music was drastically changing and I said God where do we go from here and what would you have me to say for this season. Tiff Joy had written this song Amazing which I had heard floating around for a few years and I felt it was a great song and would be a great testimony to my coming out of the valley. No one compares to you—”You’re amazing.” Every day I say Amazing Grace—You are awesome!
JET: Of all the songs you’ve recorded, which is your favorite?
RD: “No Limit.” Because it was the first project I did most of the writing and I was able to express in the music to be a testimony to those that heard the record. Things will work out for me…the lyrics really blessed my heart. A lot of times we try to figure how it’s going to happen or how it will turn out. As long as He’s in control, I know things will work out for me…as the scripture says all things work together for the good—Romans 8:28 that’s what that song is about. It’s working out—after the suffering comes God’s glory. I feel like I’m in God’s glory after 25 years.
JET: Do you think preaching the gospel is your calling?
RD: I want to be used of the Lord and I want to be a vessel and whatever he wants me to do. That’s what we will view as our assignment. But preaching is not one of them, but we will strike up a word. I had a pastor to tell me when I was very young that if you’re going to lead you must have some Word in your belly to survive. The Lord has planted my feet in the Word of the Lord and after 2 ½ decades…I’m still here.
JET: What’s next for Ricky Dillard & New Generation Chorale?
RD: I don’t know what‘s next for me. I’m just saying yes to the Lord. My eyes are getting dimmer and my body is slowing down. We’re just going to do what we do and write as long as we have a record deal and put this gospel out to the world and wins souls for Lord.
About Effie Rolfe
Effie Rolfe is a media consultant, personality and speaker. For years, she was the “voice of inspiration” each Sunday morning and middays on Chicago radio. She also speaks at schools, churches and workshops. Effie writes for several publications and is the author of The K(N)ots Prayer. Visit her Website effierolfe.com; like her on mseffierolfe.com and follow her via @effiedrolfe.