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Rico Love


By Dan Kimpel

RICO LOVE: Fluent and Fearless

“I’m a fan of all music,” states songwriter/producer Rico Love. “I study Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Elton John and Queen the same way that a basketball or football player will watch old games to prepare.” This method is clearly working for the Miami-based creator whose chart topping smashes include “Sweet Dreams” and  “Radio” for Beyoncé; “Love Like This” for Natasha Bedingfield (featuring Sean Kingston), plus “Hey Daddy (Daddy’s Home),” and “There Goes My Baby” among the songs he contributed to Usher’s Raymond vs. Raymond. “Hello, Good Morning,” recorded by P-Diddy, T.I. and Dirty Money, was premiered on American Idol with Rico providing onstage back up.  “I wrote it in the studio in New York,” says Love, who refers to Diddy by his nickname. “Puff had to leave to go to Miami. He called me at 5:30 in the morning from his plane. I didn’t get the call I got the message, then the next morning I had fifty calls from Puff saying, ‘This record is crazy.’”
 
Love crafts songs for marquee artists with immense star power. “I like to write for performers: Fantasia, Usher, Beyoncé, Mario, Fergie – they perform records. They translate what I want to say lyrically and vocally.” Creating in the moment is his forte, avows Love.  “I wrote ‘Sweet Dreams’ 15 minutes before Beyoncé arrived at the studio. With ‘There Goes My Baby,’ I finished the last line and Usher walked through the door, heard it, and cut it. The track tells me what it wants. I can hear the words inside of the music and the melody inside of the chords.”
 
He doesn’t write his lyrics down, preferring to record straight into ProTools with a rapid-fire prowess indicative of his previous vocation as a rapper. “I learned how to be quick, witty and fast,” Love notes. “I’m not saying my process is any better, it’s just my process.” Love also asserts a major role in the recording studio. “Whoever I work with, I produce the vocals and arrange the song. So I’m not just the songwriter, I’m the producer.”
 
Love envisions an even more substantial role. “Sometimes we as producers and songwriters are powerless. We give these songs to the record companies and they take our vision for granted. I
want to control the game as far as the marketing side of it: from the clothing line to the cologne, from the music to the television and the movies.” He now has his own music enterprise, Division 1, with plans to announce a co-venture with a major label soon.
 
As his resume suggest, Love possesses the ability to express emotions that may be interpreted by artists of both genders. “I’m not going to say I understand women, because I definitely don’t,” he laughs. “But I do have three sisters. It’s my take on how I think a woman might feel in certain situations.”
 
Love is an aficionado of diversity in music. “Anything that can cross over to other formats. There’s no particular sound for pop, I’m just trying to stay true to myself, and not compromise who I am as a songwriter or a music lover, but it’s great to have a pop hit.”
 
SESAC was there before the hits, Love says. “I was with a few other companies that shall remain nameless. I wanted to be somewhere that cared about me, not just because I was successful or not successful. It’s before I had a really big single, but they looked after me.”
 
Originally signed to Usher’s label as an artist, Love, who is managed by Made Communication, observes that his success has been the result of “keeping the doors open.” You have to make your own story -- there is no one way. I was signed as a rapper, wrote a song that did 25 million worldwide, met people and built relationships. I started to brand myself. I started in one place and ended up over here.”
 
“I think God’s plan is bigger than any other plan,” Love concludes. “I let him direct my life and I fall back.” Ultimately, Love believes that creating with courage is key. “My strength is that I’m fearless. A lot of times people over think something and they’re afraid to say certain things, or try different ideas. I just go for it. I have nothing to lose.”

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