Ricky Dillard Exclusive: Choral Master Talks Almost Quitting, Why He Couldn't Abandon Choir

Ricky Dillard is an award winning choral master, recording artist, producer and songwriter.
Ricky Dillard is an award winning choral master, recording artist, producer and songwriter. | (Photo: Derek Blanks)

Choir master Ricky Dillard seems to be an anomaly on radio airwaves during a time when many of his kind have been replaced by more modern sounding gospel music artists.

Dillard and his New Generation Chorale, known as New G, have been making waves in the gospel music industry for 25 years. Currently, Ricky Dillard & New G sit atop the Gospel Airplay Billboard Chart where they have spent 33 weeks with the single "Amazing."

Despite his success on and off of radio airwaves, Dillard told The Christian Post that he questioned being a choir master as the gospel music industry began to change over the years.

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"Sometimes the industry forces us to do other things to maintain relevance. I have just been determined to pursue what I believe God placed in me to do," Dillard told CP. "Sticking with it hasn't been easy. For years, there was a concerted effort, and seemingly a movement, to eradicate choirs from radio play and the industry at large."

The songwriter, producer and recording artist was advised by many people to move away from directing his choir to keep up with the changing times and even considered taking that step.

"It was a very sobering and depressing time, feeling like I was swimming against the current," Dillard told CP. "But the more I thought about shifting, the less I felt connected to what I had known and loved. I couldn't just abandon the choir."

After receiving calls, emails and social media messages from various choir directors around the world, Dillard knew he couldn't walk away from those people who looked to him for fresh examples of things to teach their choirs. That encouragement kept Dillard focused and he released the album "Amazing" with New G last June.

"I felt more pressure putting this album together. 'Amazing' isn't very different than some of our past music, but it was certainly more strategic in many respects," Dillard explained. "We usually go on consecrations and fasts when recording, and this time was no different, however, the intensity of the meditation was!"

The choir master calls his current album his most significant release, but was not certain how the body of work would be received. Although Dillard noticed his choir, concert goers and people in the industry react positively to "Amazing," he did not expect that it would debut at number one on Billboard's Gospel Albums charts.

"We record music that we, personally, believe will impact on the largest scale, but there's always the fear that it may not, for various reasons," Dillard revealed.

Although the famed choir director seems to be one of few with high visibility, Dillard will not take full credit for his relevance. The recording artist insists that God's grace enables him to top charts after spending 25 years in the business.

"It's unmerited, undeserved, unearned and unsettling at times, but it is because of grace that I am here. It isn't because I'm the greatest singer or the most talented musician," Dillard told CP. "I am a man that looks to be a successful ambassador for the kingdom of God. I believe because my agenda has always been to lift Him and help others... He allows me to still be able to work at this level... and I am thankful."

Dillard fell in love with gospel music as a young boy who directed his toys and batteries to fall in line with the songs he heard. Later on in life, he formed the prototype for his New G choir when a local Chicago Heights pastor asked him to organize a group of singers for a church event.

Over two decades later, Dillard and his New G choir have worked hard to present the world with Godly music.

"We've worked very hard to become what God has enabled. The Scriptures refer to David as a minstrel, who was well versed, or skilled in his craft, but had the anointing of God, which caused barriers to be destroyed while he played," he told CP. "The combination of skill and anointing is what made David iconic. We aim to honor God through our music, uplift, encourage and even entertain those who experience our brand of music and to do so effectively and expertly, knowing that God requires that from us."

While Dillard is happy to experience perks in his job that include making a difference in people's lives when some may believe them to be unreachable, he also admits his line of work is anything but easy.

"I think some people don't consider that we are human too. I've read some very ugly and harsh comments on some of our ministry profiles on social media," he told CP. "I would never make such categorical statements about someone I don't know personally."

Although there were times when Dillard wanted to walk away from it all, he is glad that God had another plan for him.

"It is also very refreshing after being despondent and ambiguous about my future, as relates to my artistry," Dillard told CP. "I wasn't certain I could, or even wanted to continue recording. I'm glad that I persevered. I'm glad God didn't let me give up or in."

Ricky Dillard & New G's "Amazing" album is currently available wherever albums are sold. To stay connected with Dillard, please visit:


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