The first time Rickey came to my shop was about 23 years ago. He had just become Whitney Houston’s musical director at the age of 30 (she was 26). Rickey began working with Whitney when he was 22 and she was 18. I remember him coming in with his wife Karen and their son Sean who was still in a baby stroller. What I remember most about that first meeting was what a consummate professional Rickey was. He was not looking for any “deals” and treated me with great respect for my work.
I think “consummate professional” really does describe Rickey well. There are not too many people who can handle the pressures and get the job done like Rickey. Whitney, Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys, Ray Charles, Beyoncé, big production shows like the Super Bowl, Grammy’s, American Idol, Clive Davis’s annual Grammy party and now The Tonight Show Band……. Rickey gets the job done. His professionalism, and his values (which I share) are featured in his book, “There’s No Traffic on the Extra Mile”.
I was very moved this weekend by watching Whitney Houston’s funeral and spent some time the day after with Rickey. Rickey spent a major part of his career working with Whitney and they were very close. Over a drink at his hotel, Rickey shared many wonderful memories of Whitney. She came to the Clive Davis Grammy party rehearsal two days before her death and Rickey commented on how happy she seemed and committed to getting healthy. Rickey was asked to coordinate the music for Whitney’s funeral and gave a warm and loving eulogy.
I consider it an honor and a privilege to know Rickey and be his friend.