Rico Nevotion’s bio reads like a “who’s who” of artists. The vocalist-songsmith-actor has traveled the world, opening for national acts, including Beyoncé, Celine Dion, KC & JoJo, Silk and Anthony Hamilton, not to mention packing in sold-out shows at Twin Cities hotspots like Myth Live.
He’s also received numerous accolades and honors. He took home 2018 Best R&B/Soul Album honors for his latest offering, Bad Chapter in a Good Book, via Akademia Music Awards, which recognizes top music talent across the globe.
None of which has gone to his head. In a field where egos typically run rampant, Nevotion’s outlook is that a person’s attitude — even more than aptitude — decides the altitude. “I’m grateful for everything God has given me because I know that as gracious as He gives it to us, he can take it away,” he said.
There are, of course, countless cases of superstars to whom that has happened — runaway success vanishing in the virtual blink of an eye. Also, in keeping with his perspective, Nevotion, instead of relocating to live the high life in the fast lane of a larger, glamorous city like New York or L.A., has chosen to stay put, comfortably ensconced in Maple Grove. “I was raised in Memphis — I love the blues — and since 14, have been nurtured in Minnesota.” The end result being a smooth combination of R&B and crossover hip hop.
When he’s not traveling or touring, it’s about home sweet home. “I don’t need to move. I do love to move around, though,” said Nevotion. Experiences abroad have given him an outlook he’d love to share with others. “A lot of artists don’t realize just how well-respected we are [abroad].
“When I went to Dubai, I was treated like a real celebrity. It reminded me of that scene at the end of Cadillac Records when [Muddy Waters] was going to London and didn’t know what to expect. And I was shocked when they laid out the red carpet — a real red carpet.”
Another lesson learned from hitting the big time came from a surprise encounter with Dion. “She is just one of humblest people you’d ever meet,” he recalled. “She was real kind. She said to me, ‘There’s something special about you, something gentle.’”
He learned much of value from meeting other stars. “Opening for those heavyweights taught me [that] I should never get content, and that though I love what I’m doing, I should never forget that it is a business as well. So, if I don’t pay attention to my product, I can become a has-been overnight.
“So, I’ll live by this code: Always work like you’re trying to get a raise and you’ll never disappoint your fans.” He added, “There’s no artist without an audience.”
He has a most practical approach to holding onto his hard-won gains. “I release all my music [through my] Diamond Effect Publishing on Diamond Effect Records.
“I’ve chosen to take this route for many reasons. I keep complete creative control of my art without any interruptions. Going through a label is no different [than] going through a bank for a loan, just higher interest.”
Nothing if not versatile, Nevotion has also carved out an acting career, which began by working with director Joe Dante on Piranha, an offbeat thriller in the wake of Jaws that John
Sayles helped script. “I wish that I would have had the opportunity to interact with John Sayles, but the times I was on set were very intense and we didn’t really get a chance to socialize,” said Nevotion.
He also starred on television in I’m Goin to Church, and in films Set in Her Ways and Bunny and Clyde, which just wrapped production. On-stage, Nevotion has acted in and directed several plays in Twin Cities theatre. For good measure, he also danced behind Prince at Glam Slam and with Shaquille O’Neal.
His road has had its share of detours through hard times, however, as part of a wayward youth involved in running the streets and ending up a gang member in prison. His older brother was with him behind bars and advised, “‘Sit on the side for a week and see if that’s really the life you want.’ I decided it wasn’t. They say once you’re in [a gang] you can’t get out, but that’s if you show fear. I just let them know I was making my choice. Then, no one stopped me.”
Now he shares his time doing outreach work for youth in schools and at community centers.
On the entertainment horizon, Nevotion’s plans on “taking my music to another level of success, then creating a platform to find artists that others never thought to search [for] to give opportunities.” He also hopes to do more movies, including writing and directing for his company Diamond Effect Films.
Meanwhile, along with catching Rico Nevotion live and checking out his recordings, listeners can tune in to KMOJ spinoff, The Ice at 89.9FM HD2 or online at theicemn.org where hosts “The Perfect Blend,” Fridays from 5-8 pm.
Fans can also check him out as he hosts the Harlem Nights Theme Party on March 9 at Azul Nightclub. For more info, visit @OfficalRicoNevotion on Facebook.