via Joy105:

You might say gospel music comes naturally to Ricky Dillard.

“I was born and raised in it. It’s the heartbeat of my family,” he said. “We love gospel music, we love God. We love the sound of church.”

Dillard will bring that love of gospel music to Fayetteville State University on Saturday, when he will perform as part of a “Gospel Explosion” at Seabrook Auditorium.

Born and raised in Chicago, Dillard started singing in church with his mother and grandmother. By age 5, he was directing the youth choir in his church, St. Bethel Baptist, and in 1988, he formed the New Generation Chorale, or New G.

Growing up, Dillard was shaped by the gospel music of Aretha Franklin, James Cleveland, Albertina Walker and others. He absorbed their influences while forging his own style.

Dillard, 52, started his career with the 1991 release of his album “The Promise,” which was nominated for a Grammy Award. He also was nominated for his 2014 album, “Amazing.”

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