Ricky Fanté is a southeast Washington, D.C. native. His parents (Dad is an engineer for the Washington, D.C. Metrorail system; Mom, formerly a lawyer, is now an elementary school teacher) raised Ricky on a steady diet of soulful R&B.
Fanté grew up in Washington, DC where he studied gospel, jazz and secular soul music. His greatest musical influences were Elvis Presley, Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder. While a teen, he joined the local go-go band Junior Division and performed throughout the greater metropolitan area. He served for four years in the U.S. Marine Corps after graduating from high school, and then subsequently relocated to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music.
It was then that Fanté decided to focus all of his energies on his music career, and dropped out of college. A demo of his two-man group, produced by his partner ex-rocker Scott Rickett, called "Soul Surfers" fell into the hands of A&R executive Josh Deutsch, leading to a development deal in 2001. In 2002, Fanté hooked up with Norah Jones' collaborator Jesse Harris, and began co-writing and recording for his debut record.
Fanté was then signed by Virgin Records and released Rewind in July, 2004. Fanté gained critical acclaim for the song It Ain’t Easy. The song appeared on his 2004 album, Rewind, and was performed on NBC’s long-running late night talk and variety show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Although the song was not considered a “hit,” the album garnered moderate success in the U.S. and abroad. The song reached No. #8 on Italian music charts. Fanté’s vocal sound has been compared to Wilson Pickett, Sam Cooke, Al Green and Otis Redding. In 2005, Ricky Fanté recorded the title song Shine for the film Robots, and the upbeat tune That’s All I Need for the HBO film Lackawanna Blues. He has also appeared in the television series American Dream and the successful ABC made-for-television movie Their Eyes Were Watching God.