Now, I suppose I could write this interview out in the format of a simple, ordinary, plain ole’ conversational
dialogue, but I’d rather not. I’d rather tell you a story of a brave
man and then leave you with a cliff hanger because his story is right at
its climax and his music mission is hardly ready to be concluded. Ricco
Barrino, Kassim Ricco Barrino - that is. He’s the oldest of three
children and he’s best known as Fantasia Barrino’s
beloved brother. His grandmother gave him this unique name which is
composed of an Arabic first name and Hispanic middle name. Ricco says
his grandmother named him this because he is her first grandchild and
she wanted his name to be different. You know I was always told that
names carry a lot of weight in the structuring of your personality and
Ricco (like his name) is very unique.
He was born and raised in North Carolina, a state which he holds close to his heart. Growing up in North Carolina was sweet, as he describes it. Ricco said that he's been many places but he wouldn't trade living in the South for any other place and he always wants to have a home in North Carolina. Speaking of keeping home near and dear, Ricco shared a very valuable piece of advice: Always keep your face clean with the people at home because when you go away, you may want to come back and when you do come back it is better to be received with love. His friend and producer Keith McMasters (of Grand Hustlers) can be credited for instilling such a great point of view and giving such sincere advice to him. Surprisingly, he says that he does care about what others think. However, he is confident in knowing that if he works hard he will be noted as a respected musician in the industry not just Fantasia's brother.
He spoke highly of his mother and he feels that she is a great speaker, in his own words he said, "My mom can be classed with the best of them ... Juanita Bynum,TD Jakes...". His mother is definitely his motivator and friend. Often offering words of encouragement and advising him to keep his relationship with God in check. He says that his mom keeps him humble and she is his biggest support system including his sister Fantasia and a host of other family members like his cousins, aunts and uncles. He also has the business support of his publicist Linda Lun, and friend Leita Wesley. He says that they all keep it real with him.
Ricco has what I call combination talent and if he wants to step outside of the box and do a little of this and a little of that - I say go for it. As I was doing my research on him, I came across some of his previous recordings with his group “Infinite” and Ricco has the skills to be a bona fide crooner, certified hip – hop head and a cool mellow fellow with those sweet melodies; reminiscent of gospel, jazz and soul. He’s also a songwriter and he's established a company called Sky Writers. His lyrical ingeniousness has been requested by some of the heavy weights in the industry and realizing this keeps him feeling blessed.
Ricco is also a very positive thinker. He uses positive
thinking to visualize himself doing whatever it is that he wants to do.
He mentioned that as a football player in school his coach once required
him to jump hurdles as a technique to assist him in getting in shape.
Ricco said that he really didn't know how he was going to do it so he
just began to picture himself jumping over the hurdles ... "Before you
know it I jumped over the first one, then the next one and I keep on
going", he explained with an enthusiasm in his voice. From that point on
Ricco said that he would always use that same confidence to get him
through situations and even to visualize himself as the artist that he
is aspiring to be.