Ricco Barrino croons rhythm and blues “Easy Like Sunday Morning," which is one of the reasons he’s so freakin popular.
Music, it is an evolutionary piece, a whirlwind of sonnets and sounds that reinvents itself, where styles, rhythms, and beats change every five years depending on the fad. The good news is, it really doesn’t matter which epoch we find ourselves in as far as harmony is concerned whether it’s 2007 or 2019, Ricco hasn’t changed the blueprint for making soulful tunes. He is proof that R&B prevails.
“I wanted to make sure that I stayed true to the 90’s, early 80’s and 70’s music when you heard an artist and you knew that it was them automatically. I wanted to display my strengths and bravado” Ricco explained his passion for keeping his sound soulful and original.
The musician is a native of High Point, NC. However, he began singing lead on the choir at Oak Grove Missionary Baptist Church (Harrisburg, NC) at the age of 7 under the guidance of family members.
He released his first single called Bubble Gum (2007), and then later signed with Grand Hustle Records in 2009. He featured on Young LA, Futuristic Love (2009); Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Gone (2010); Go Head (2010); Hood featuring Fantasia (2012), Vibe featuring Tigo B (2016);Colonel Loud, Come to the Money (2016); Pray For Me (2016), and Serious (2018). He released mix-tape, “Twenty 12 Play (2012) and Musical Evolution (2013)
His newest release called Baby is an incineration of upbeat tones that’s sort of like A-Pop music, but Ricco adds his vocals, which gives the song a sultry kick.
“I have some remarkable artist that embodies what I do in a sense,” he shares. “They are more true to it then I am, when you talk about putting a good gumbo together. For them, either you’re on one side of the tracks or the other. For me, I can get on the track and ride the middle. It’s very smooth. It takes experimentation. You have people like PJ Morton, The Hamiltones or even greats like Tweet, which are very sultry. They stay true to who they are. I’m a confused individual at times, kind of like a mad scientist. I never stop trying to figure out how to merge things like rock, pop, rap, R&B, and soul to make this whole gumbo, or trap soul, where you have catchy lyrics at times, or you have a hip-hop beat with something old. I look at the late James Brown who was a pioneer in that. It was all about a groove, and then he sold you on the words. The groove is what caught you and then the words reeled you in—His vocals carried you away and it empowered you in a sense. That’s kinda who I am. I embodied James Brown, Otis Redding, Al Green, and so forth. That’s how I look at things. I’m right in the middle of the tracks opposed to being Migos, Gunna, or anyone else on the hip-hop side, or even Chris Brown. That's when you have R&B with a hip-hop twist, and then you have your soulful side. I’m right in the middle of that,” he describes his cadence on the latest CD.
Soft spoken and humble, if there were any words to describe Ricco Barrino, that narrative is absolute. Clearly, he’s a man that’s been broken down by the uncompromising phases of life where losses and hurt are both inevitable. He continues to push in spite of, to pick himself up, dust the grit off his shoulders, and keep doing what he does.
“Right now, I’m just working on the EP. I’ve really taken time just to exercise as far as my vocals and my mental. I’ve put down things [in writing] that I might’ve been afraid to talk about years ago,” he says. “I’m able to let it out. Years ago, I wasn’t afraid. I was skeptical about the things shared, and the audience listening. I didn’t know how they felt. I didn’t feel like I was being as true to myself as I am now. Last year, I lost my son. That was my restarting period of finding me and rediscovering me-- Learning to be unafraid and realizing that I am human. I believe that you only have one life to live, so just let it all hang out as opposed to holding it back."
Ricco acknowledges that his whole life is a gospel. “I feel like everyone has a story of what they went through,” he said. “It’s a form of gospel in a way, when you get to share your story with the world. People like the great reverend Al Green, Otis Redding, the different artist like Andre 3000 or Cee Lo Green, Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, everybody had a story. It didn’t necessarily mean that you had to be in church. It meant that you laid everything out on the line in the form of gospel because the gospel means that you’re telling truths. Just like you’re spreading the word about Jesus Christ, you’re spreading the gospel of what you’ve been through and it’s what the world needs. That could be politics, or you’re basically telling truths and waking people up about things going on in your community.”
Ricco is working on a book. He says that it will really put things in perspective with him being a father, artist, and leader within the community. “When the time comes, I want to finish it up. I will be very excited for the world to get a view of what it's like to be me in my world.”
He’s also an advocate, who’s fighting against domestic violence. Watch clip here.
Ricco is always scouting dope talent. He's currently working with a 6 year old worship leader out of Greensboro named Caleb Serrano, who was on NBC “Little Big Shot.”
“He’ll put on a pair of shoes that light up. He’ll strut down the runway and sing “This Little Light of Mine,” and everybody goes crazy," Ricco spoke in awe about the little wonder. "That type of artist amazes me. I have other artist that I’m working with as well. I’m taking my time right now in selecting people. I need to see what makes them unique.”
Ricco said that he doesn’t take life for granted. He also says that he’s constantly on an emotional roller-coaster... “That’s most people-- They’re just afraid to say it, that they are human. Sometimes, I’m all over the place with my emotions. I’m a very emotional creature and that’s what fuels me. That’s the reason you get songs like, “Pray for Me.” You might get a ratchet record from me, and that’s the reason people in the streets call me “Ratchet Ricco,” he joked. “I have my softer side or period of seduction where I want to honor women. I try to make sure that no one confuses that. It’s like Tupac. Some people would say he was contradicting himself, but he was speaking from a point of when he experienced different emotions. It’s a major plus when everyone has discovered who you are. Sometimes, it sucks when they don’t quite know yet. They try to figure out which Ricco they like. It’s a gift and a curse, but at the same time, I give you an option.”
Speaking of those options, Ricco does musical covers as well, or in other words, remixes. He does his best to keep the song as original as possible. “I try to keep the integrity of a song. If I can’t do the song,then I’m not going to sing it. It’s being able to have respect for the song. I’ve heard some of the greats mess up the national anthem,” he says.
Ricco is still experiencing the bumps and bruises of life as he pointed out, but he’s still creating dope music because he’s on a mission. “I am still a new artist until I have a number one hit,” he says.
Follow Ricco on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and SoundCloud.