“Spirit encourages me to be a voice of inspiration,”.
Rickie Byars, one of the 21st century’s most revered Spiritual singer-songwriters, opens the heart, touches the soul, and uplifts the spirit with her songs of unconditional love and spiritual transformation.
A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Rickie traces her roots to Nina Simone, Curtis Mayfield, Sam Cooke. She cut her chops on the edgy sounds of Motown, Liverpool and Memphis. Her powerful and unique style propelled her to be showcased as featured vocalist with the New York Jazz Quartet, the Pharaoh Sanders Ensemble and the Ronald Muldrow Ensemble.
Though best known as the former Music and Arts Director of the Agape International Spiritual Center in Culver City, California, Rickie has performed at Lincoln Center, the United Nations, the Jefferson Memorial, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Freedom Awards, and the CNN hero Awards. Sold out audiences at Royce Hall, the John Anson Ford Amphitheater, The Greek Theater and the Getty Center have delighted in Rickie’s soulful melodic imagery.
Thrilled to perform at Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Democratic National Convention with Grammy-Award winners John Legend and Will.i.am, Rickie still counts her five performances for His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, as the highlight of her career.
At Agape she not only lead services but directed the world renowned 200-member Agape International Choir. Together with former husband and Agape founder, Rev. Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith, they formed a powerful partnership that has resulted in a dynamic catalog of songs that enable transformational healing through the power of music.
Always an example of change and possibility, Rickie supports numerous organizations such as “Water to a Dry Land”, Green Festivals across North America and works tirelessly to help improve the lives of others.
A big part of Rickie’s personal focus ministry is Kuumba Kids, an educational organization she founded dedicated to nurturing and developing the whole child through initiatives that build a foundation for academic and social success.Rickie’s signature venture, The Rhythm and Joy Festival (RAJ) is an annual festival that focus’s on demonstrating the impact of music as a catalyst for changing lives. It is a transformative experience bringing together iconic music and performing artists, innovative speakers and socially responsible entrepreneurs for a full day celebration of community and creativity. This eco-friendly festival offers fun and learning for the entire family and includes music, art, dance, yoga, a sustainable living marketplace and food court, drum circles, parades and experiential joyous festivities. RAJ’s goal is to create an atmosphere where festival-goers can truly meet each other, learn new ways to live healthier lives, and be inspired by music and activities that have progressive and uplifting messages. All day, all ages, all fun!
Rickie Byars counts eight original solo albums to her credit including, “I Found a Deeper Love,” “In the Land of I AM,” “Soul Fulfilling,” “From Within,” “Pray For Me,” “Supreme Inspiration,” “The Love Project,” and “Let My Soul Surrender.” Additionally, she has produced five albums for the Agape Center, four which feature the Agape International Choir
Branching out into the literary world was a natural extension for Rickie. Her latest endeavor, “Let My Soul Surrender” provides and intimate look at how the Spirit works through the artist in the creation of her music. Every song has a story – sometimes the stories are exciting and hopeful, sometimes they are heart wrenching and full of questions. In “Let My Soul Surrender’, Rickie tells the fascinating stories behind each of the songs on her companion CD, also titled “Let My Soul Surrender.” Overflowing with grace as well as her trademark honesty, humor and wisdom, Rickie pulls us into her living room, her front porch, her childhood, or a temple with His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. The stories she tells have the ability to enlighten and uplift as profoundly as the songs themselves.
For more information on Rickie go to RickieByars.org