“The most important thing is to stay true to your original vision of who you are and who you want to be. Do not let others try to make you something you are not. It will never work. People know when you are faking it.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Billboard Top 40 artist Ricky Rebel of Ricky Rebel Entertainment who was discovered by Michael Jackson, signed to Madonna’s label and toured with Britney Spears. These days, when he’s not playing SXSW or performing at the Cannes Film Festival, this glam star on a mission is releasing the title track from his new album, “The New Alpha”, featuring ex Adam Lambert guitarist Tommy Joe Ratliff.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I was in a pop group called No Authority who had a hit called “Can I Get Your Number”. We toured the world and opened for Britney Spears. After the group disbanded, I was featured in two “My Chemical Romance” videos that inspired me to go solo. I changed my name to Ricky Rebel, started producing my own music and videos and built my brand from the ground up.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you in the course of your career?
I remember hanging out with Michael Jackson at his Neverland Ranch and riding the Neverland 4-wheelers. I was riding so hard that I broke two of them. I felt awful. I’ll never forget having to push the 4-wheeler up a tall mountain with Michael Jackson.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I am a huge LGBT supporter. I have been open and honest about my sexuality. My Billboard Top 40 track “Boys & Sometimes Girls” is all about the fact that I like both. I am unapologetically open about who I am and what I like.
If someone would want to emulate your career, what would you suggest are the most important things to do?
The most important thing is to stay true to your original vision of who you are and who you want to be. Do not let others try to make you something you are not. It will never work. People know when you are faking it.
Is there a particular person that made a profound difference in your life to whom you are grateful?
I know it’s cliché, but my parents are number one to me. They have supported me throughout my career. Without their love and support I do not know where I’d be. They come to all of my shows and have never stopped supporting me.
Can you share a story?
I was recently performing at NYC Pride, looking out at the massive crowd and seeing Lady Gaga walking by. I had this surreal moment of unity with everyone. At the end of the day, we all just want to be loved and accepted for who we are. It didn’t matter that I was exhausted, hot, and dehydrated. On stage, I felt no pain.
So what are the most exciting projects you are working on now?
I’m releasing a new music video called “The New Alpha” and it’s featuring Tommy Joe Ratliff (Ex Adam Lambert). It’s more of an art film. It touches on gender and sex, masculinity and femininity, liberalism and conservatism. The message being that we are not our labels.
What are your “Top Five Ideas About How Influencers Can Monetize Their Brand”. (Please share a story or example for each.)
· Focus on what you love and what you’re good at. If you are passionate about makeup and the beauty industry, avoid content that doesn’t have anything to do with that like sports. People like cohesive content.
· Make your own content. If you are musician, make your own music and copyright it. If you are a jewelry designer, make your own jewelry line. Do not wait for others to do it for you. If you have the talent to make it on your own, do it.
· Your social-media posts need to look amazing. Plan in advance what each day’s posts will be. Try to distinguish which photos and videos are for your storyline and not your main feed. With storylines, you can share your day-to-day life and the photos do not have to look perfect. Only the best content should be allowed on your feed.
· Learn how to retouch your own photos. My motto is, if it’s good enough for JLo, it’s good enough for Rebel. There isn’t a photo on Kim and JLo in a magazine or on their feed that isn’t retouched. Learn how to retouch like a pro using Facetune 2.
· Talk to your audience once a week on all of your social media platforms. I began singing and playing guitar and doing a Q&A with my fans every Tuesday at 12pm PST on Instagram, Facebook and Periscope. It has helped to build my base, gain confidence in my guitar playing, and it’s fun to meet your fans in a more intimate way. Don’t fear your followers. Bring them closer to you.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this. 🙂
The President of the United States and I need to have a discussion. Like Kim Kardashian, I am not afraid to sit and speak with him. I could be a good bridge between liberalism and conservatism. I’d fight for gay rights and we could try to find common ground to ensure that LGBT rights are protected in the future. Gay rights are human rights. I am deeply upset that the administration refused to acknowledge Gay Pride Month. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done. Resisting is not the answer. We need to learn how to communicate civilly, get along with one another and get the job done.
Originally published at medium.com