Paterson, NJ is a vibrant city. On one hand it is the birthplace of Lou Costello of the famous comedy duo “Abbott and Costello”. On the other is Principal Joe Clark with his infamous baseball bat that symbolized his rule over Eastside High School in his struggle to keep the street from leaking into education. In between the two, the reality of life there is one of struggle and death. Something Puerto Rican singer, Rik Indio is intimately familiar with. “It is to an extent.” Indio explained, “I was a part of the environment but I didn’t allow it to stick to me. I always wanted to better myself and progress.”
It’s in the tattoos on his body that, like ancient hieroglyphics, that tell a pictorial story of a man who has seen a disease take its toll on his family and a near death experience take a similar toll of him in life. A man who has eight siblings, all sisters but one, it’s the source of the echo from his tormented soul where the music comes from. Two sisters passed from the dreaded disease called cancer imprinting itself on his family. “I kind of afford myself the opportunity to feel pain. I needed pain and more than I was already feeling, so tattooing was an outlet for me.”
He is the personification of today’s music sound fusion. Not so different from our triple racial heritage, Indio, aka , Ricardo Ramos does the same, mixing Salsa, pop, and ballad. If you want to know the foundation of his musical tastes, just look at two men who influenced it, that lived in the same neighborhood he grew up in, Frankie Ruiz and Domingo Quinones. “I’m a Salsa lover. I feel it through my veins,” Rik explained, “I don’t get that from any other genre. I’m going to put a twist on how I do it. I needed to find that fine line between both worlds and I feel like I found the right fusion.”
A car accident nearly killed him two years after his first album, which was unreleased. In early 2002 he was left in a bed for nearly three years. Four back surgeries later, this self-described driven and determined man drove his way back. “It threw everything out of whack.” Rick recalled, “I was out of the music scene for a few years after that.” A promising career seemed to end before it even started.
The titanium that serves as the support to his back and his ability to walk is the type of strength that symbolizes his iron will. “It gave me a lot of time to reflect.” Rik recalled, “It stunted my growth and I wanted to get back into the saddle again, then my sister died.” It was from that and the news in 2007 that another sister was diagnosed with brain cancer. He dedicated his next album to her.
He ended up in 2010 being nominated for “Tropical Revelation of the Year” at the “Premio Lo Nuestro” Awards. Two songs in the top ten and on the verge of professional awards, he ran into another wall. His sister, he learned, was given a timeline to live. Rik dropped everything to take care of her in her last days. “It wasn’t a difficult decision at all.” Indio shared, “This was my best friend in the world.”
The rainbow always comes out after a storm and Rik Indio soon embarked on the current project as a tribute to his sister. “She was still alive and I wanted her hear the music,” Rik said, “The record was completed and ready to launch.” The first single from it was ranked at #15 with no New York airplay. But it was a little too late. She passed in June of 2014.
He returned with a heavy heart and a ton of experiences dying to be expressed. His newest single “El Tiempo Sin Ti” (Time without You) from the album “Te Voy A Enamorar” is a look into a matured voice that exposes the heart and leaves it all out there for his fans. The ladies always respond to a romantic singer and Rik Indio fits that to a T in 2015. “I was very careful in choosing the songs and I have been very blessed in having Grammy award winning writers like Jorge Luis Piloto and Marlow Rosado write for me.” Indio summarized, “I wanted to structure this album accordingly. I wanted to make it female friendly. I wanted to sing to the ladies. It’s based on love and relationships.”
Rik Indio is looking to 2016 now. He recognizes that the time to be more visable to his fans is now. Looking for that all too important leverage along with faith in God, Rik Indio will not stop until his story, of which his siblings is an essential part, is told to the masses. He has his ear to the struggle of others and he is putting all the eggs in this musical basket knowing that many will relate to the pain. “At the end of the day my Plan B is to make sure my Plan A works.”