Just like many others before me who wanted a career headed down to Nashville Tn.; The Country Music Capital of the world.
There I was like a fish out of water having never sung this style of music before, but it was the real life stories being told in Country Music that got to me hooked , not like the screaming and banging drums I was used to . I finally realized at that point this was my calling and my time for change. After arriving I entered a singing contest on the front porch of Mickey Gilley’s Saloon on Music Row next to the original home of legendary Hank Williams Sr.,
That is when a talent scout approached me and said “Son, I see something in you” come with me.
Thinking this must be my break of discovery I followed him to a
Studio (Fire Side Studio) where I had met my 1st Producer Mr. Ray Doggett and for the very first time in my life,
I was little scared and excited all at once to shake his hand.
After the introduction, numbers were exchanged thus began my journey … In Music.
I returned to NY filled with excitement and hopes of building a band just to keep the dream alive. I had noticed it was a very tight nit circle and closed-door community in Nashville and my options were not the greatest.
After leaving Nashville and meeting with Mr. Doggett we never lost touch. I remembered his words clearly as he spoke to me before I boarded my plane he quoted : " Son I don’t know when and I don’t know why , but somewhere you will play a very important part in my life ."
After returning to my home town I found a job to get the bills paid and food on the table but not before the phone would ring each morning I knew he was calling to say good morning and would give me positive thoughts I carried throughout the day ,
just knowing a Producer from Nashville was calling me I was on cloud 9 and nothing could ruin my day .
Many more years went by and our friendship and trust was building, I was getting tired of just talking, so I decided to take action and risked it all.
I boarded a plane decided to just show up at Mr. .Doggett’s front door. Walking down the hall I found his name on the door knocked and knocked again ,then the door opened up and there stood the tall 6’5 man with a smile on his face and I said confidently, I’m here sir, where do I start ?” shocked and amazed by my unexpected visit, he smiled then said, come on in, slow down , and have a seat
He spoke with a raspy voice due to his prior Throat Cancer and losing one of his vocal cords he spoke : He put his arms around me and hugged my neck and said today I adopt you as my son in music . “First, I must teach you to love people because in this crazy business, you have to realize that these songs are not just words, they are someone's life and dreams. Then and only then will you be ready to learn what I can teach you what you need to know and earn your way into this business)
I then took the job and swept floors and became a messenger boy for RAY Doggett (known as the Ambassador of Music Row or Poppa Doggett who his family and friends called him. Mr. Doggett had a great track record as a recording artist for Decca, and other labels as well as discovering many legends today producing and writing songs, he wrote Kenny Rogers first charted single, "We'll Always Have Each Other" (1958). He did the same for B.J. Thomas and Mickey Gilley.
At that time I then decided to put my dreams as a singer on hold and began working in the business as a apprentice and his
Right hand man doing whatever he needed listening to each word he spoke at our morning meetings.
My job for the next 10 years on MUSIC ROW was making sure that the artists that were in our company were ready with song material & photos. I also had to make sure that they got to the studio on time, TV show appearances ECT. This took me too many states across America and one year, I traveled over 48,000 miles in a 6 month period!
I didn’t mind a bit because it gave me an opportunity to see what was going on behind the scenes. It was exactly what I had hoped for.
My dedication and hard work finally paid off when Mr. Doggett approached me about my talent. He said he wanted to give me a chance in the studio.
So he took me in to cut my first demo; a song entitled,
"Thanks to you" which I cut in 1993 on ESU label and released it in again 2008 on the "TIME FOR CHANGE”. On the Red Tail Records Project. Many liked what they heard and said I had a signature voice.
I then went from being a messenger boy to being a recording artist charting in 17 countries including Canada and Europe. After 10 years. I returned to NY to start up my first Country band called, Black Jack. We did well but went through many musician changes before we got in right.
My demands were different because I had a taste of the great players in the 'A Studios’, and it was very hard for me to except anything less than perfection. Please don’t get me wrong, the local NY musicians were good, but nothing’ compared to the boys in Nashville.
We finally got it together and began to attract a lot of fans.
We opened for top performers like Josh Turner, Mustang Sally, Aaron Tippon, Marty Stuart, Yankee Grey, Cowboy Crush, and many others at club venues, Fairs, Festivals, and Radio Promotional Events. The band members included Charlie & Marcia Murphy, James Taylor, Jodie Lee, Stephanie M. Scribani-Anderson, Jeff Gillette, Frank Marrella, Tom Caulfield, Chris Prime, Jon Greeno, Gordo, Mason Tyler, John Pettigrew, Kurt Kowalski , Ralph Baranes, Mark (Silver FOX). One of our members, Ryan Jones, went on to play his fiddle & mandolin professionally for LO CASH Cowboys after college in Rochester at RIT. We bid him a good farewell as he deserved to go pro.
I am so proud of these outstanding musicians. Their accomplishments and contributions will forever be appreciated.
I close with this word of advice and the words spoken from the Ambassador of Music Row Mr. Ray Doggett...Quote:
"Today I sit before you and speak the truth from experience,
Tomorrow I will be a picture on the wall."
See through my eyes and listen close with my heart ,, Many will try to take on the wings of an Eagle and very few ever get to fly .. )
To you all the aspiring musicians, singers & songwriters I’ll leave you with this… There is no such thing as ‘an overnight success’. It took me 30 years to get to this point in my career and I still don't know all the answers.
As a recording artist my bucket list was not complete.
I am currently the president and owner of
AMC Nashville Records & Management Inc.
Working with my associates and friend producer & music director for 18 years +
Buddy Hyatt along the best A team of musicians and songwriters
In Country Music today.
I have currently finished a CD. Project I only dreamed about entitled:
“Brother’s & Sister’s In Arms”
I wanted this total project to be of only Military content of great songs written by some of the best writers today in country music , finally after 7 years from last cd project with the blessings from the higher powers , and my Investors & family.
Howard Walkowitz, Michael Watson, and George Shatz our budget was reached to complete it in June, 2015.
Thank you Guys for believing in my talent!
I am currently working on a promotional campaign “Proud to Serve “to help as many Veteran Organizations and 1st responders as my way of serving my country as a
Man who could not serve my country due to a eye injury at the tender age of 17 after completing my exam for boot camp to go into the Marine Corp.,
Instead spent several months in the hospital as a 65% blind man.
Many today know me as (The Man behind the Shades) the name given to me as a recording artist by (Mr. Ray Doggett).
Keep working’ hard, stay focused, and never give up on your dreams.
When you Say it’s over you’re right!
When you say it’s not over you’re right again!
I am proud to be doing what most people dream about.
I am thankful for God my strength & wisdom and all who have helped get here.
The journey continues………….
I truly appreciate and love you all.
The Man behind the Shades
Rickey Lee Watson
President and Ceo
AMC Nashville Records & Management INC.