Rickey Minor is a bass player, music director, composer, music producer and multi-award winner.
He also served as the musical director on NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” for four years, and worked on many projects with well-known artists, including Christina Aguilera, Usher, Beyonce, Whitney Houston, and many, many others.
But after just one interview with this man of many talents, one could easily add philosopher to the list as well.
To begin with, Minor explains his early beginnings, when he moved with his entire family from a small town in Louisiana to the wilds of Los Angeles.
But ever the optimist, someone who thoroughly enjoys life, Minor never lost that upbeat personality and sunny outlook.
“There were eleven of us – eight adults and five kids – and we lived in a two bedroom apartment,” Minor remembers. “But we were happy. We thought everyone lived that way. We kids slept in bunk beds, and had lots of fun, and that fun stayed with me. That’s pretty much who I am today. I look around for how things work and have no anger in me. I just see things for how and what they are.”
Minor’s musical career took off when he was still a youngster.
“I don’t remember anyone else in my family playing an instrument, but I always loved music and I still do. It made me feel happy inside,” he shared.
Forming a little band with other neighborhood boys, the band would strive to imitate the Jackson 5.
“I always admired and played the part of Jermaine. Since he played the bass, when we decided to add music to our band, I naturally began to study the bass so I could be more like him,” he said.
And that decision eventually led to Minor’s major successes. Today, with many decades in the business, Minor has had an extraordinary career. In addition to leading the band on “The Tonight Show,” and lending his many talents to other high-profile entertainers, he’s also handled such series as “American Idol” and “America’s Got Talent.”
He’s also managed the “musical presentation” of The Kennedy Center Honors, The American Music Awards, The Grammys, The Emmys, The Oscars and The Super Bowl. Oh, and along the way he earned 12 Emmy nominations, and won the Award two times himself.
And on Sept. 24-26, Minor will lead the Philly POPS in “Sinatra: A Man and His Music” at the Kimmel Cultural Campus. The program, which features highlights from the “Sinatra at the Sands” album, was originally performed with the Count Basie Orchestra, under the direction of the legendary Quincy Jones.
Minor is stepping into the shoes of Jones, who was one of Minor’s mentors. In fact, Minor calls Jones “the quintessential renaissance man. He has shown that talent, hard work, and perseverance can be a formula for a successful life in any career. He not only set the stage, he built it. He’s my friend, mentor and an inspiration to us all.”
Minor, himself, has served as an inspiration for many young musicians. And he offers this advice for success: “Play at any opportunity that comes along, be it the local talent show, weddings, bar mitzvahs. I got my first professional gig touring with Gladys Knight when I was 19 years old, and I think that happened because I earned it. I had played everywhere – anywhere – for years and years determined to learn as much as I could.”
Tickets for the event start at $35 and are available at www.phillypops.org/sinatra