The ultimate American Idol insider reveals what it takes to achieve your dreams, recalling his journey from South Central to center stage.
As a highly successful musician and producer, Rickey Minor has worked with some of the world’s most celebrated performers. He knows firsthand that there are reasons why some people succeed, while others fail despite their talent. As American Idol’s music director, Rickey Minor helps contestants reach for their dreams week after week. He’s seen it all behind the scenes at the wildly popular show.
In There's No Traffic on the Extra Mile, Minor spins stories from his life in the music business into inspirational gold, imparting the lessons he has learned the hard way, including:
• Always give people more than they were expecting. But remember that you can’t please everyone all the time.
• Look for mentors. Minor recounts how Quincy Jones became his.
• Why every action moves you closer or farther away from your aspiration—and how to tell the difference.
• If you can’t get what you want, it may be because youÂ’re not ready yet. When the time comes, you’ll know.
He also provides juicy behind-the-scenes anecdotes about Idol contestants, and the keys to their success. He sees the show as a condensed version of life itself. The setbacks the performers face, and their triumphs, mirror our own. But his bottom line, no matter what your field of endeavor, is this: If you drive hard enough, sooner or later you will be the only one left on the road.
Minor's motivational wisdom is exactly what you'll find in most books in the genre: accept responsibility for your own choices, he advises; love yourself and "always give people more than they were expecting." And though he does take readers "backstage" in his role as the music director of American Idol, don't expect any major revelations; the scenes he presents are largely generic, with no names named. The book does pick up some interest when Minor looks back at his career leading up to his TV job, starting with the vocal group he started growing up in Watts through gigs with Gladys Knight and other musicians. In one especially memorable passage, he recounts the resistance that other musicians and network reps offered to Whitney Houston's unorthodox arrangement of "The Star-Spangled Banner" for a Super Bowl appearance; that her performance would go on to set a new standard, he says, is evidence of the power of staying true to your own convictions. Unfortunately, there are not enough of these powerful moments to overcome the platitudes and make Minor's advice truly stand out from the pack.