How and when were you introduced to music? Was your family musical? Do you have any formal training?
Growing up my parents played all kinds of music. They would play a lot of Beethoven and Mozart. I would constantly hear Sam Cooke, Nat King Cole, and various Motown Artist too. So as a child I heard these wonderful soulful singers and just processed it . At a early age I studied violin and switched to the viola for a short period, only to return to the violin. I was mentored by my teacher Ms Kaufman, who had a wealth of knowledge and talent. Ms. Kaufman helped me prepare to play in a state competition. I was selected with 29 other students to receive private lessons at Boston Conservatory of Music. Out of 2000 candidates only thirty who competed for private lessons won that opportunity. So that would be my formal beginning in music ,the Boston Conservatory of Music. While at the conservatory I joined all city-wide bands and orchestras in my free time. It kept my chops up and I continued to explore my love for the Violin. So growing up I had a deep classical journey, which I stumbled upon.
You told me an interesting story about your dad recording a single and destroying it when you found it. Tell me about that.
In my mid teens I was in my sophomore year at West Roxbury High School. I was still playing the Violin. I was trying to enter the band class, but for some reason there were not enough students to form a band this particular year. So the piano teacher/chorale director Mr. Charles Wright invited me to sit in his class chorale class. Little did I know that he would encourage me to unleash another side of myself that had been lying dormant in my soul. Before the year was up, Mr. Charles Wright had me singing in the chorale and performing vocal solo’s on special stages all around the Boston area as well as making appearances on TV.
My folks were who were not a first crazy about the singing, They really wanted me to go back to violin. I learned later on why they were opposed to my singing. One day my Aunt Joyce told me that my Grandmother was a singer who traveled all over the West Indies singing. She had died long before I was born. I guess Dad wanted to leave that part of his life behind him. Around this time by mistake, I found a single amongst old single 45 records with my Dad’s name on it. When I asked questions about it, my dad ripped it up into sheds and told me don’t ask any more questions. I guess it made him think of his mother. I can imagine that hurt. So never again did we discuss his past. That meant whatever I was going to do, would have to be on my own. You know when you’re a teenager growing up, so many things can influence you and your goals. Even then I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a singer. But I did know that I loved music and playing the violin felt great, but singing let me express myself more deeply.
What were your early influences?
Johnny Mathis, The Jackson Five, Aretha Franklin, The Beatles, Ella Fitzgerald, The Crusaders, The Temptations, Cyreeta Wright, Billy Preston, Barbara Streisand, Miracles, Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Nat King Cole, Nancy Wilson.
Recount some concerts that impressed you as a young fan?
I attended a Jackson Five concert and immediately felt right at home with Michael Jackson and his brothers. Michael Jackson will always be one of the greatest entertainers I had the privilege to see a couple of times. To me he was one of the greatest entertainers.
You have a big reputation as a R&B and Jazz singer. Tell me about some of your career highlights during that time.
I love singing all types of music. Whether its Blues or Rhythm and Blues or Jazz, I have a way of making it mine. So that’s what I do. Years following graduating from High School I had the opportunity to be original bands, such as TowZone, Front Page. We opened up for a couple of acts like: Cherelle and Alexander, Renee and Angela, Ready For The World, Stephanie Mills just to name a few. In the process of performing for these major acts we competed and won a Budweiser showdown competition for our area. Tthey pressed up our original song and it was played over the public radio and college radio. So we become very popular ,and developed a wide fan base. One of the other bands I worked with was named HOTWIRE from Mobile Alabama. I loved these guys, they were very talented musicians. I performed up down the East Coast. Hotwire was a blues and R&B band. Then I landed in New York. I worked with a group called the STINGERS. When I was with the Stingers were brought to the attention of Desmond Child an awesome writer and entertainer as well. He and Bon Jovi came to one of our shows in Manhattan. They basically agreed to sign us on the presence and energy of the singers. We did a couple of recording dates in L.A. but it didn't work out. We were able to get a released from our deals. But when I look back on that project it was my privilege to work with Diane Warren and the Awesome Writer/Performer Desmond Child one-on-one in the Studio. When I was with the Stingers we had the opportunity to also work with Vicki Sue Robinson and the great Phoebe Snow . I will always remember those wonderful experiences.
Do you play any instruments?
Yes a little piano, percussion and violin.
You told us that Rickity was your first rock band. That will amaze people as you sound as though you were born to do this. What are your impressions of being in a Rock band ? What are the pluses and minuses.? What do your jazz and R&B friends think about your downfall into the sleazy world of hard rock?
Yes, Rickity is my first rock band officially. I am enjoying the concept of learning how to become a true rocker under the tutelage of Mr. Randy Pratt. Once I’ve processed what I need to do, then I just deliver what I feel. Randy has been a great mentor. I am known by my friends as an entertainer, so whatever genre I am performing in doesn’t really surprise them. The ones who act surprised obviously never really knew me. (SMILE)
The band is very colorful, is that your normal style?
Oh I love bright color, Color is energy. Energy can take a band from one level to another, just with some color. I would very much say it's my Perrita-ism.
How would you describe the music of Rickity to the uninitiated? What do you hope for in the future of the band?
Rickity’s Recipe is take some hard core classic rock, add some funk, and divvy up some really colorful lyrical lines and you have ….. RICKITY. I hope the Rickity band will be appreciated and admired. All the way baby!