After years of creating music, introducing a new genre to the world, and providing some of the worlds favorite songs, musical icon, Teddy Riley received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Friday, August 16, 2019.
For over 30 years, Riley has been behind some of the greatest R&B songs such as “I Like” by Guy, “No Diggity” by Blackstreet and more. A true gatekeeper, Riley is credited for birthing the New Jack Swing era during the mid-’80s and ’90s which brought forth an entirely new sound and look to the times.
The star located at Cahuenga and Hollywood Boulevard celebrate the legacy of the famed producer. The ceremony began with a warm welcome by fans and supporters, R&B artist, Tank was the first to honor Riley with a speech. He opened his speech speaking from his place of a 12-year-old boy, finding his way in the world of music and being introduced to Riley through his group, Guy.
“I proceeded to listen, to be inspired, to learn, and understand what greatness and who God is; because when he makes something and he has a divine purpose for it and he wants it to be elevated to a place very few places men have ever been or have ever seen, he does it and he does it well.” the singer said. “He’s done that with Mr. Teddy Riley.” He continues to explain Riley’s desire for more as the reason why he has made it to where he is, his desire to continue to strive for greatness, closing with “you’re the greatest ever man.”
Andre Harrell, founder of Uptown Records, now Vice Chairman of Revolt TV & Media, who is also credited for discovering artist including Teddy Riley also honored the producer with a speech. “I always felt that outside of Quincy Jones, Teddy Riley was the most impactful producer of our generation. He didn’t just make music, he made lifestyle, he made attitude. He made music that came with outfits, attitudes and a whole way to be cool,” he stated in a separate interview. “Nobody else did that.”
“His impact is bigger than that. His impact is so big in terms of the celebration that he gave us by the music he made, by the dances we did, by the haircuts we got, by the attitude he transcended in his music. It was like an empowering Black movement of fun and celebration and he was the pied piper of that,” Harrell said of his influence, noting his recognition has been long overdue.
During Riley’s speech, he thanked those who had been with him his entire career, sharing love and appreciation for everyone he’s ever come in contact with throughout his entire life. A special thanks went out to Mike Conception and Clarence Avant for giving him a roadmap for his career, and his mother, who showed him continuous support and love regardless of any circumstances. Full of gratitude and love, Riley humbly accepted his recognition with a smile surrounded by family and friends.
After the ceremony, a free concert was held at Hollywood & Highland. The concert brought out rapper MC Lyte, singer Major, Damion Hall of Guy and a special surprise performance from the men of Blackstreet. Riley gave the crowd his all, with full energy the audience sang and danced along, truly fulfilling his purpose of service by lifting others with his music.
“I’m excited and when this night is over, I’ll look back and say ‘wow, this was something special,’ and check back with everybody to see was it a dream or was it really real,” Riley said. “Sometimes you just have to go with the flow, because it’s going to happen for you.”
For Riley, getting the star symbolizes what he’s mastered, it is the icing on the cake he says. It also symbolizes those who weren’t able to make it on the journey with him and how that pushed him to pursue his purpose in music.
The future for the 51-year-old producer, songwriter and more includes a dive into the film industry, mainly the film describing the genre in which he created. “I can’t wait for that and the production and working on New Jack Swing [film].” The identity of the genre he founded, he expressed, “it was just mixing music, and what that music became everything; style, fashion, the direction of where music was going.”
During the era of New Jack Swing, many found it hard to get deals doing anything outside of that sound due to its popularity. The sought after sound created a signature mold and made Riley a staple in the history of R&B music.
“The Spirit of God does not make any mistakes. So it is what it is, the timing is right and we on to a new life to have some more fun, create more things,” he says. “Now it’s time for people to see the story and read the story, and know about the music; the education of new jack swing music technology.”
Riley’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame highlights his career, making for a moment to be remembered for all in attendance. His career speaks for itself, and there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Teddy Riley will not continue to reach heights and continue striving for greatness.
“Follow your direction, follow your heart, and stay true to who you are. Once you do people will know the real you and not your representation.”
Follow Teddy Riley on Instagram @teddyriley1.