Wednesday, April 21, 2010
DA-PROFESSOR'S COOL INTERVIEW WITH AMBITION: FORMER PRETTY RICKY LEAD SINGER
When I spoke with singer/songwriter Christopher "Ambition" Myers, I was extremeley impressed with his maturity, intelligence and humility. Important qualities that will help him maintain longevity along with his vocal talents.
Born in Pittsburg, Ambition became interested in singing after listening to his mother's copy of Boyz II Men's debut classic "CooleyHighHarmony," and from then he began to practice and hone his craft on a daily basis. He later became influenced to dance after seeing Ginuwine's video, which lead him to become part of a break dancing crew that performed in Miami and Texas, but he's remembered as 4Play the second lead singer of the Hip-Hop/R&B group Pretty Ricky, replacing original vocalist Pleasure P, and helping the group score two hits with "Cuddle Up" and "Knocking Da Boots" but he had grown tired of the group's controlling ways (they wouldn't allow him to conduct interviews), so he decided to leave, and rebuild his career by collaborating with Rapper Choze, completing a novel and working on his solo debut.
"Things have been going great" he said from L.A. via telephone
"Working with people who has my best interest."
When asked which singers inspired him to pursue a career in music, his response was "I love Usher. Boyz II Men. Doesn't get better than that. Justin Timberlake. Take 6. Anybody who can do harmony." There are stories about singers being discovered signing in church, at talent shows and on street corners, but Ambition was discovered singing karoke, by his former manager, who told him that he needed to work with him. In addition to singing, Ambition had also became involved with artist development, but his big break came when he was tapped to replace Pleasure P in the Miami-base Hip-Hop/R&B group Pretty Ricky. "Actually it's funny. I do artist development and a group I was working with was Crave" he says of how he first became affliated with the musical horny toads. "I was putting their shows together. They got signed to Bluestar Entertainment (and) shortly after, Pleasure P left the group.
Ambition's manager had told him about the auditions, and he wasn't interested, but his manager was persistant saying it would be a great opportunity for him to gain exposure. Two months later, Ambition received a phone call from the group's rapper Diamond Blue at 11'o clock that night asking him to be fly to Miami to audition; the next day. He was told to be at the airport at 7 the next morning and to bring a weekend's worth of clothes since he was going to be flying back home the following Monday. He nailed the audition and got the gig.
"I left that morning and didn't come back for a year and a half" Ambition says of him getting the gig. "We started recording. We had to go on tour. We had to film videos."
In addition to the videos, they group also filmed a BET special introducing Myers to the fans as their new lead singer, but it wasn't as his original stage name. To capitalize on his powerful and sexy voice, looks, and chiseled physique, he was Christined 4Play (See Sexy Musical Horny Toads Finds New Member And Continues To Crank Out Good Music June 4th 2008). Being the new lead singer of the group brought him and the group a new legion of fans, but there were many, however, who though respected and admired his talents and looks, had refused to accept him as the group's new lead singer, while some refused to give him a chance saying how they liked the group with Pleasure. Myers totally understood the fan's feelings about the situationm and he went all out to connect with them by chatting with them online and greeting them on tour with hugs, hand shakes, and photo opts. His humility and spirit helped him have a better connection with them.
"(Well) when I joined the group, I didn't plan to outshine Pleasure" he says considering the fact he and Pleasure were cool with each other during the group's 2007 "Late Night Special" tour. "He was the only person who spoke to me. Me and Pleasure were cool."
The fans and critics finally accepted him when the group released their version of H-Town's 1993 Soul Train Award winning hit "Knocking Da Boots" (See Sexy Horny Toads Remake Classic Love Song July 18th 2008). Fans got the opportunity to hear his smooth tenor and his ability to sing falsetto. "It was crazy just seeing the people's reaction. Everybody took it very well" Ambition says of the response he got whenever he would perform, the song live. "It was crazy. I don't think I ever listened to a song that long" he said about the number of times he listened to the original version in order to do a great job.
The fans and critics began to have expectations for the group's album "80's Babies", but there were constant delays, and stories about the group adding another singer to become a quintet, but when the group released it's single "Tipsy In Da Club" they noticed that Myers had left the group leaving many to wonder what was going on the Pretty Ricky camp.
Myers says that he and the group had conflicts over material, money and the same situation that Pleasure P had gone through had transfered to him.
"First thing they're all brothers, and their father run the company. There was a physical altercation. That situation had to be canceled." Myers didn't talk most about the altercation due to legal issues.
Shorty before he departed, Lingerie (who's original stage name was changed) another Pittsburg native was recruited to join the group, and before becoming a member of the group, he was a member Crave, the group that Myers was developing.
"They signed Crave and they released the other two members" Myers says of the other dramatic event that took place in the Pretty Ricky camp, along with them posting a rumor on the internet that said Myers was killed in a motorcycle crash.
"Me and Lingerie were close. He was one of my closet friends."
Many fans are upset at the group for posting that rumor, and while Ambition is upset, he doesn't hold it personally against his former friend citing the rapper's manipulation and controlling ways for his behavior along with the little bit of money their giving him.
After leaving, the current line-up lost it's distribution deal with Atlantic Records and after signing with Tommy Boy Records, they released their self-titled album, which hasn't done as their first two gold releases, and while the group is at the cross roads, Myers is starting a new chapter in his life and career.
"I can build myself up. I'm doing alot better than when I was with them totally."
Myers returned to Pittsburg, and started to use his original stage name Ambition, which was something he named himself at the age of 11, when two of his childhood friends, who were singing at the time pulled out the dictionary and started looking for names. When Myers saw Ambition, he knew it would be a great name to match his personality.
"It goes with my personality. I try to stay as focus as possible. I've never tasted any alcohol. I never did any drugs. If you want to be an artist the partying and all can come later. I'm in LA and there are models who are so gorgeous but they're working at KFC to make a living."
Being focused has paid off; the singer scored a hit with Rapper Choze on the hit "Bad Boy" which features the hook that he wrote in only three minutes. He's also collaborating with Tino Courely, another talented performer from Pittsburg, who's single "Diary" is getting lots of airplay and positive feedback on You Tube and Facebook.
Pittsburg has produced many talented performers including singers Phyliss Hyman, Shanice Wilson, Shirley Jones, Bobby Vinton and actors Lamaan Rucker, Michael Kaaton and Sherrie Johnson, when asked how does it feel to come from a city where these legends were born and raised, Myers says he feels honored.
"It's definetely an honor. There's so much talent in the city."
He's also completed a novel about a Ninja in Pittsburg, who's seeking revenge for his family who was murdered. Ambition writing a book based on Japanese culture? Yes!
The singer also became interested in Japanese Culture at the age of ten while studying martial arts.
"When I was ten years old, I studied Ninjisto with Raymond Anderson. I studied with him for ten years. I admired Japanese culture."
He's also working on his solo debut, which he says is going to be a mixture of Dance with R&B and lots of harmony in the background.
"I'm trying to write seven singles. I wanna give everybody their money's worth."
When asked where does he sees himself in the next five years, he says he sees himself with five # 1 singles two Grammys, and doing a song with Boyz II Men.
"I would love to do a song with Boyz II Men" he says. "I actually met Boyz II Men on tour. I talk to Wanya from time to time. I would also like to work with Justin Timberlake. Of course Timberland. Pioneers in the game."
Ambition paid the Motown Philly legends the ultimate compliment and tribute by redoing their classic "Please Don't Go" with music and accapella that can be heard on his my space page.
"My favorite is Please Don't Go" he said when asked what was his favorite songs by the Motown legends.
"That was the first song that make me wanna sing."
Many fans were pleased with his rendition of the song including group member Wanya, who loved his version of the group's classic
"I let Wayna listen to it and he love it. It's the biggest compliment."
Following the tradition of sharing and giving advice to aspiring entertainers, Ambition is still involved with artist development, which is something many performers need in order to have successful careers.
"It's very important. You need to know what you can do. Everybody doesn't have to be an Usher dancing. As soon as you hit the limelight, you're a star."
His advice to those wanting to enter the recording industry:
"The only thing you can do is surround yourself by people you can trust. The music industry is filled of snakes. Study. Read books. Study very hard."
To check out his music go to www.myspace.com/ambitionthekid