Ricky Rydell Dillard (born February 25, 1965 in Chicago) is an American gospel music singer.
Dillard was born on February 25, 1965, in Chicago, Illinois, as Ricky Rydell Dillard. His mother and grandmother imparted to him a love of gospel music, and he was raised in the church singing in the choir at the age of five years, and eventually got the opportunity to direct the youth choir at St. Bethel Baptist Church. In 1981, he formed the first gospel choir at Bloom High School. Around that time, while working as a front desk clerk and later as a file clerk, he performed in a professional Backup band called Love, Salvation & Devotion (LSD) on the weekends. In 1984, he joined the late Milton Brunson's Thompson Community Singers. Also in 1984, he graduated from Bloom Township High School in Chicago Heights, Illinois.
Dillard started his recording career in 1987 in Chicago house music, to which he was introduced by the so-called "Godfather of House", DJ Frankie Knuckles, a few years ago. In this genre, he collaborated with notable record producers such as Farley "Jackmaster" Funk on It's You (D.J. International Records, 1987) and As Always (Trax Records, 1988). He also worked with deep house pioneer Larry Heard, who was the main producer of Dillard's first album, Let The Music Use You, which was released on Jack Trax in 1989.
With his gospel choir Ricky Dillard's New Generation Chorale, founded in 1988, Dillard released his first gospel album, Promise, on July 5, 1991, on Muscle Shoals Records. It charted on the Billboard Gospel Albums chart at No. 15, and was being nominated at the 34th Annual Grammy Awards in the Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album category. His second album, A Holy Ghost Take-Over, was released by Malaco Records on May 20, 1993. It charted on the Gospel Albums chart at No. 3. The next album, Hallelujah with Malaco Records, released on May 2, 1995, and it charted at No. 10 on the Gospel Album chart. On October 15, 1996, he released Worked It Out with Crystal Springs Records, and again this would chart on the Top Gospel Albums at No. 8. His next album with them, No Limit, came out on July 18, 2000, and this charted on two Billboard chart the Gospel Albums at No. 10 and Christian Albums at No. 32. While his last release, Unplugged, on the label was released on March 16, 2004, which this charted on the Gospel Albums at No. 9, and this time around charted on the Independent Albums at No. 49. The next album, 7th Episode, came out on October 2, 2007 with EMI Gospel, and this charted at No. 7 on the Gospel Albums chart. Light Records released Keep Living on April 26, 2011, which this charted on the Gospel Albums at No. 3, Independent Albums at No. 9, and on The Billboard 200 at No. 58. He partnered with Entertainment One Music to release, Amazing, on June 10, 2014, and this album charted on The Billboard 200 at No. 28, No. 5 on the Independent Albums, while placing at the top of the Gospel Albums chart. On August 13, 2019, he signed a record deal with Motown Gospel. As an agreement, Dr. Dillard and his choir, New G, did their 11th live recording.
Since his first gospel album Promise in 1991, all of his albums charted on the Billboard Gospel Albums chart. His No Limit album charted on the Christian Albums chart, and the album Unplugged charted on the Independent Albums chart along with the releases Keep Living, and Amazing that also charted on The Billboard 200.
Ricky Dillard was nominated at the Grammy Awards twice, the first time in the Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album category at the 34th Annual Grammy Awards in 1992 for Promise, and the second time at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards in 2015 in the category Best Gospel Album for Amazing.
Also in 2015, he was nominated at the 30th Stellar Awards in the following categories: Artist of the Year, Song of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, CD of the Year, Choir of the Year, Producer of the Year, Traditional Male Vocalist of the Year, Traditional CD of the Year, and Traditional Choir of the Year.
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|Let The Music Use You||
|A Holy Ghost Take-Over||
|Worked It Out||
|Unplugged: The Way Church Used to Be||
|7th Episode: Live in Toronto||