Rickey Minor And The Extra Mile

Veteran music director details his career and recipe for success
  • Photo: Maury Phillips/WireImage.com
    Rickey Minor
October 21, 2011 -- 2:49 pm PDT
GRAMMY.com

(A portion of the proceeds from The Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter's GRAMMY Block Party benefitted PATH, a Los Angeles-based organization dedicated to ending homelessness for individuals, families and communities.)

Rickey Minor, music director for "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," recently participated in an installment of The Recording Academy's 5 Questions With … series. Hosted during The Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter's GRAMMY Block Party at The Academy's headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif., Minor discussed the music director profession, his career highlights, advice for aspiring artists, and favorite GRAMMY moments, among other topics.

"I think that success is readily available for us all," said Minor. "The biggest thing is to learn quickly how to get out of our own way. And that's something that I'm thankful for, that I recognize that the only thing stopping me is me."


Born in Monroe, La., and raised in Los Angeles, Minor picked up the electric bass in his teens. While in college at UCLA, Minor studied computer science but an opportunity to tour with Gladys Knight And The Pips interrupted his education. Minor subsequently became the music director for Whitney Houston, a position that would catapult him to his standing today as one of the leading musical directors in the industry. Minor has since collaborated with GRAMMY-winning artists such as Christina Aguilera, Beyoncé, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Alicia Keys, and Stevie Wonder, among others. His television music director résumé includes work on "American Idol," "America's Got Talent" and the Super Bowl. He has also served as the producer for television shows such as the NAACP Image Awards, "Motown 45" and "America United: In Support Of Our Troops." Minor served as music director for the 50th and 51st GRAMMY Awards telecasts in 2008 and 2009, respectively, both of which garnered Emmy nominations for Outstanding Music Direction. In 2009 Minor authored There's No Traffic On The Extra Mile: Lessons On The Road From Dreams To Destiny, an autobiography detailing his career and work philosophy. Minor was named music director for "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" in 2010, succeeding Kevin Eubanks.

A longtime member of The Recording Academy, Minor is a former Los Angeles Chapter Trustee and active participant in the GRAMMY Foundation's annual GRAMMY Camp. Minor also served as music director for the Los Angeles Chapter's GRAMMY Block Party.

Click on the "5 Questions With ... interviews" tag below for links to other GRAMMY News stories in this series.

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