By: Shenelle Wallace
Have you met Jeremy Ricks? Well you should get to know him! He’s a minister at 25 but has been preaching the Word since he was just 16. His new album says it all and takes us back to the heart of worship. If you miss soul stirring worship music, words, and melodies, the album captures the very essence. You will not be disappointed. But first, let’s get to know the man behind the music.
So Divine: Congratulations on the album Jeremy. How long have you been singing?
Jeremy Ricks: I wouldn’t call myself a singer; I’m the Kirk Franklin Donald Lawrence type (laughs). I basically wrote and produced most of the music. That’s where it stemmed from. God has given me these songs, and I just put them together. I had good people around me, friends and family who actually helped me make it come to pass.
So Divine: Oh, so you play instruments? How long have you been playing?
Jeremy Ricks: I play the keyboard and the guitar. I wouldn’t call myself a musician though (laughs). I can hold down a service here and there depending on what’s being sung, but I don’t really practice. A musician practices.
So Divine: Well a title that you do identify with would be “Minister.”
Jeremy Ricks: Yes.
So Divine: You’re in your mid twenties-
Jeremy Ricks: Yes, 25. I’ll be 26 next week.
So Divine: Oh! Well happy birthday when it comes! Growing up, did you ever think that you’d become a minister? Is that something that you aspired to be?
Jeremy Ricks: I can honestly say all my life I knew that was my call. I had a very unique childhood. God had opened up my eyes spiritually to see a lot of things. So I knew God had a tremendous call on my life, because of the attack that was on my life. There were times I’d be on punishment as a young boy and couldn’t watch TV, or play video games, and I would close my door and read my children’s bible from front to back for days. A child who’s on punishment and actually reading his bible? Something’s wrong with that! (Laughs) But that was me. What my brother and I used to do as children was actually play church in the house. He plays the base and I play the guitar. We had testimony and praise and worship service, and we would stack our amps on top of each other and that would be our pulpit and we preached to each other. It’s kind of weird, but that’s what God wanted me to do. When I was 16, that was when I first started ministering in my church as well as other places. This year will make 10 years.
So Divine: During those years, was there ever a time where you felt like you needed to take a break to see what you were missing in the world?
Jeremy Ricks: No. There are always times when you’re around your friends and of course you want to fit in. I was well recognized in school, but I can honestly say that I never actually put everything down just to turn around and do certain things. I’ve never done it. I’ve had my struggles, but I’ve never turned my back on him.
So Divine: How did you handle those struggles as a young man?
Jeremy Ricks: Scripture is the best. 1st Corinthians 10:13. Of course, when you’re in those situations you’re not thinking about scripture. You’re thinking Lord, you’re going to have to forgive me after this one.
So Divine: Keeping it real! (Laughing)
Jeremy Ricks: I think the most important thing is understanding your temperance. Understanding what it is that will actually get you to the point where you’re almost about to fall. And whatever that is, you should steer away from. 1st Corinthians 10:13. The temptation comes with a means of escape. Everything that we endure or come to, there is always some sort of escape. All we have to do is call on God for strength. Often times we get caught up in those situations and we don’t open up our mouths to scream [to God] for help, and that’s the problem. But that’s because you actually want to engage in whatever it is that’s being presented to you. One of the best ways to maintain yourself is keeping the word. “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I will not sin against you”. Everything that you endure in life there’s a word that can fight the enemy.
So Divine: Go ahead pastor!
Jeremy Ricks: (Laughs)
So Divine: Let me ask you, have you ever been disappointed with God? Or felt that God let you down?
Jeremy Ricks: Oh definitely. I think what people don’t understand, especially with ministers, there are so many people who are jealous and envious over the limelight of being in ministry and being in the forefront, but they do not know the hell that ministers go through. If people understood everything that ministers go through, they would decline the offer. Our attacks are unlike any other attack. Think about it, God is placing you on a platform to minister to the sheep. So because the sheep are important to Him, and the enemy knows that, the enemy is in a fight trying to take the sheep while God is trying to protect them. When God is bringing someone as a shepherd, as in minister, the attack has to go to the head. We are attacked on so many levels. Just because you see a minister preach and lay hands on people, you don’t know if when they leave and walk out of the service, their life could just be living hell. Often times I think, God you use me to help people get out of their slum and their pit but God, what happened to me? I need you now. I’ve given my energy, I’ve given everything. I don’t know why I feel down. There were times when I felt like I just don’t want to do this anymore. I’m preaching, people are getting saved, they’re getting delivered, but then some people are falling back, some people are still struggling. Often times what we see is the opposite of what he said. So what we see being the opposite of what he said gets us to a point of question and I’m like God I can’t handle this anymore, give it to someone else. But that’s just the enemy trying to stop you from the call on your life.
So Divine: What reminds you that this is more than just about you and causes you to continue to preach?
Jeremy Ricks: You know how the bible says one can chase a thousand, and two can put ten thousand to flight? I always remind myself that every person in life has an assignment and with every assignment, God has directed people to your assignment. So if I don’t continue my assignment, it’s safe to say that there’s at least one thousand people that were assigned to me, that won’t get their direction. This life that I’m living, it’s not for me. I know that my living is not in vain.
So Divine: You come from a background of a deliverance ministry. You’ve seen people who were sick for years, actually healed. What do you say to the cynics and critics when it comes to something like this?
Jeremy Ricks: I try my hardest not to try and convince people. I just open up my mouth and speak, and I know God is going to support my words. If He doesn’t support my words, it will make Him look bad. God is connected to His word, and because He is connected to His word, he cannot fail His own word. So I use that. I speak the word to whoever is hearing it. If God doesn’t show up for them, it doesn’t make me look bad it makes Him look bad. And God is not ever in the business of making himself look bad. God supports His word and when He supports it, it’s His job to open up their eyes, not mine.
So Divine: How do you hear the voice of God?
Jeremy Ricks: I’ll give you the example of Jesus and his disciples. In the Bible it says that early in the morning Jesus would rise to pray and seek God’s face. By the time everyone else has started their day, He already got hours of prayer in. Then his disciples would go and try to cast out demons and spirits and it was taking them forever and Jesus would come and just say one word, and the spirit would flee. With much prayer is much power. Little prayer, little power. No prayer, no power. So in order for you to have a clear communication with your father is by constantly talking to Him. As you constantly talk to Him His voice gets clearer and clearer. Now the enemy speaks just as well, and he’ll try to make you look like a fool if you don’t know the voice of God. So I would say the best way to hearing God is having a personal relationship with him. You have to be intimate. It’s like when you get into a relationship with someone you don’t learn that person until you’re constantly on the phone with them and constantly talking to them; you start to know how that person thinks or how they feel, because you’ve built that relationship.
So Divine: Thank you. I needed that. That was for me actually.
Jeremy Ricks: Oh, really?
So Divine: Yeah, but hopefully everyone who reads can benefit from it. Okay, now on to the music!
I know you recently started a record label. Who’s idea was it to start the label, and why did you want to start it?
Jeremy Ricks: The label was inspired of course by God. I know there are so many people who have a great music ministry and voice in the gospel community but yet and still, as unfortunate as it is, may never get an opportunity to be heard especially from major record labels. But does that mean they shouldn’t be heard? Also, I felt it would be great to build a label with unity and a great sense of family and cohesiveness because I noticed there were so many around me doing same music thing and we are serving the same God so why not do it together?
So Divine: What can we expect from the album?
Jeremy Ricks: You can expect pure worship, sincerity, and praise.
So Divine: Is this the first of many more albums to come?
Jeremy Ricks: Definitely the first of many. I have about 5 projects in the works. We have a label project in the works where we will possibly do a release concert for prayerfully late 2011 or early 2012. We have a group Named “Rosie Mendoza” and “AVP” (Anointed Vessels of Praise), an artist from Atlanta by way of New York “Aaron A”, an artist from Bronx NY “Kendra Lockett”, and an artist from New Haven CT by way of Harlem NY “Jamaal Newton”. So I will definitely say there are great things ahead and great things to look forward to and pray we gain a lot of support from the Gospel community because these Artists are anointed and have a voice.
Purchase Jeremy’s new album “Heart of Worship” here.