Hi there. My name is Ricky “RikRok” Ducent and I created this website for one main reason: When I started out in the music business way back in the early 90’s I had no clue how the industry worked and it didn’t seem like there was a lot of information available for newbies like me.
This website exists to give aspiring singers, songwriters and bands a place to start, learn the basics and then transition into the pro stuff. Basically this is the resource I wish I had when I was starting out.
Like most unfamiliar skills, whether it’s sports, learning a new language or navigating a complex industry like ours, the fastest way to climb the ranks is with a coach. Using this website that’s what’s I’m trying to be for you.
Be warned though, I’m not one to sugarcoat. Before I had any kind of success I had a ton of failure. And even after I had some success I had failures again. So strap in because this is gonna be quite a ride.
My Story Begins
For those of you who don’t know my story my path to a successful career in music probably wasn’t anything close to what you’d expect. I studied Chemistry in university and had every intention of getting into medical school and becoming a doctor.
I wrote songs as a hobby since I was in high school but it wasn’t until I sang one for Nigel Staff, now one of my best friends (who just happened to play keyboards for the hottest Dancehall act at the time) that my life started down a completely different path.
He took me to the first recording studio I’d ever been to which is where I met Brian & Tony Gold, Chevelle Franklin and famed local songwriter and producer Mickey Bennett. You may or may not know these names but I was pretty star struck to be in the presence of what can only be described as Jamaican music royalty at the time.
Mikey was impressed with my songwriting ability and decided to mentor me. This is where the learning really began. All I had was some raw talent but it was really raw so I needed someone to guide me and he fit the bill nicely.
After a number of years hanging out with my new found friends I learned how to write commercial music and sing background vocals but I still had no clue how to turn these skills into an income. I even became part of a singing quartet for about a year but it didn’t last long.
At this point it seemed that the only people making any consistent money from music were those who played instruments – guess who couldn’t play an instrument? It was frustrating to say the least.
A Glimmer Of Light
Music completely took over my life and as you can imagine my grades in university were suffering terribly. I actually felt so bad about it that I told my Dad not to waste any more money on continuing to send me but, being the super cool Dad he was, he told me to just finish out school since I’d already reached so far(I was only a few credits away from finally graduating).
I took his advice and scraped through to get my B.Sc. in Chemistry. No, that wasn’t a typo, I actually have a degree in Chemistry – as weird as that sounds.
After struggling for about 5 or 6 years both with music and school I finally had a degree but of course no income. The more I thought about it, the more I hated the idea of spending my life in a lab somewhere mixing shampoo for a living. But music wasn’t going anywhere so now what?
When my frustration was about to hit its peak I got a call from Brian & Tony Gold. They were working on an album and needed my help with the writing. They had started working with Shaggy’s management so this was how I met Robert Livingston, Shaggy’s manager.
He was a cool guy and we got along great right away. Brian & Tony raved about my writing skills but I could tell Robert was only going to be truly impressed by an actual song so I took the track they were working on, went home and came back with one of the best pieces of writing I think I’ve ever done.
When he heard it the next day he was quite impressed and looked forward to working together in the future. Reggae superstar Shaggy happened to be at the studio that day too and when he heard the song he actually came over to where I was and started talking to me. I hope I wasn’t grinning from ear to ear on the outside because I was losing it on the inside.
He turned out to be a cool dude too so we became fast friends and I finally had 2 people in my life (Robert & Shaggy) who could teach me about the music business from the perspective of people who lived it everyday.
An Interesting Couple Of Years
In the months (and years) that followed Shaggy and I would meet up at his apartment and write whenever he was in town. Over a 2 year period we wrote and recorded over 100 songs. Most of them have never been released but the ones that were should sound a little familiar:
- It Wasn’t Me
- Strength of a Woman
What most people don’t know is that we had a secret weapon in the inhumanly talented producer Sting International. With all the team members in place it was simply magical to see the songs we ended up creating. For my first project as a part of this team we created two (2) #1 Billboard Hot 100 singles and a #1 Billboard Hot 200 Album. It was insane!
Landed A Huge Hit – Toured The World
In a matter of months I went from a complete unknown to an instantly recognisable face (and voice) all over the world. To say this changed my life would be the understatement of the century.
The Hot Shot album eventually became a Diamond selling (10 million sales) monster and went on to sell over 20 million albums world-wide. It was a huge success which allowed us to perform live all over the world and on stages like Madison Square Garden and the O2 Arena in London.
It was incredible. We performed at award shows like the American Music Awards, got nominated for a Grammy, appeared on Saturday Night Live, shared the stage with the likes of Destiny’s Child and Shakira and even performed on the Michael Jackson 30th Anniversary Special.
The momentum of course didn’t last forever but the ongoing residuals have been pretty great and every few years someone uses some part of “It Wasn’t Me” so I have to say I’ve truly been blessed over the years.
What I’m Most Proud Of
By far my proudest achievement though is my beautiful family. My wife and I have 3 great kids (who happen to be my biggest fans) and I’m so grateful for them.
People ask me all the time why I dropped off the scene for so long. Where could I possibly have gone? Well to set the record straight I’m not off living the lifestyles of the rich and famous. As successful as the Hot Shot album was there were a ton of expenses that cut into the earnings quite a bit.
I went into semi-retirement after we started a family because I refused to become one of those cliche absentee fathers. The time with my wife watching our kids grow has been the most precious thing I’ve ever experienced and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
We go on actual vacations, something I had no concept of until my wife introduced it to me and we regularly worship at a Baptist church where we have a whole other set of friends and family to partner its as we give thanks for everything God has done for us.
It’s been long enough now though. My family, Robert and I agree that it’s time to reemerge so be on the lookout. I’m firing up the writing and producing machine and I’d love to show you how I do what I do stayed tuned to this website for updates.
For now let me just thank you for taking the time to read through this very long “history of me”. I’m really looking forward to helping you in some way as you embark on your own journey into the music industry and I can’t wait to hear about your success.
God bless and we’ll talk real soon