Ray Quick knows what it's like to be a celebrated musician. As the son of Clarence Quick, who was a member of the the 1950s doo-wop group the Del Vikings, famous for its songs "Come Go With Me" and "Whispering Bells," Ray fondly remembers when fans mistook him for a Del Viking, screaming, "We love you," as he poked his head out of a window of New York's Beacon Theatre.
As a boy, before he even got into music, the younger Quick signed his first autograph for a fan of his father's who thought he might make it big one day. Now, decades later, after the 38-year-old from Laurel gave up on rapping and the possibility of playing professional football, Quick dreams of living up to his father's legacy with his year-old gospel group, Ray Quick and Revelation.
Quick and three female vocalists perform their song "Spread Love" as part of this month's "Glorify His Name," a television show on Channel 76, the public access station for Prince George's County, tonight at 9 p.m.
In the 1980s, when Quick was attending Cheyney University in Pennsylvania, he signed his first record deal for his rap and hip-hop music, although his songs didn't hit the West Coast air waves until the early 1990s. Though he credits the rap singles with getting him established, he also hoped to produce the gospel music he had been writing all along.
"I had a war going on with my spirit. I was doing well with the rap music, but I didn't believe I could do both rap and gospel without being a hypocrite," Quick said. "We are responsible for what our children see and hear. I can't be a Christian and go to church on Sundays while I sing negative rap all the other days. I love God, I believe in him, so I gave it up, regardless of the money I would have made," Quick said.
After Quick wrote "Impossible," a hard-core rap song he thought would be successful, he realized he wanted to work solely on gospel, so he didn't do anything with the song and stopped producing secular music altogether. He still listens to some secular music, particularly doo-wop, but not rap.
In a style derived from music ministers Kirk Franklin and Fred Hammond, Quick's music consists of him preaching over the background vocals of Janice Vines, Gail Jamison and Sheronda Powell. Quick, who works at Kinko's during the day, was a deacon at the District's Holy Christian Missionary Baptist Church until he lost his car in an accident four months ago. While he awaits a new car, he is attending Church of the Lord's Disciple, a friend's church in Forestville.
He writes and arranges all of his group's songs. Fourth Man, a Mitchellville-based Christian band, plays backup when the group records its songs at Rockville's Hit and Run Recording Studio. The instrumental band will perform live with Ray Quick and Revelation when they begin to do more gigs at the beginning of the year, after they've recorded a few more songs.
Quick plans to finish the first album and then perform at area churches in order to introduce the group to the gospel arena. Around that time, Ray Quick and Revelation will make another appearance on the "Glorify His Name" show.
Lead vocalist Vines replaced an original member of the group, Dory Brooks, only a week before the taping of the public access show. A singer for more than 25 years, Vines, 37, has never sung with a spiritual gospel group before. But, like Quick, she believes that the opportunity was a calling from God.
In order to find someone new at the last minute, Quick called an old friend who knew Vines. Now, about a month later, both believe a higher power led them to each other. "It's something that I always wanted to do. Timing tends to lead us to God. This is a the perfect time for me now," Vines said.
On the segment of "Glorify His Name" where Quick and Revelation perform, Quick makes a point to tell the studio audience to listen to the words behind the music. He's hoping his group's gospel tunes eventually reach enough people to do exactly what the song is about -- spreading love all over the world.
"Glorify His Name" is on Prince George's community television Channel 76 at 9 tonight and on Dec. 30. Call 301-725-1943 for more information about Ray Quick and Revelation.