a voice of inspiration
Rickie Byars is one of the most acclaimed and beloved singer-songwriters there is in the genre of inspirational/New Thought music. Through her three decade career as both a solo artist and as founder /director of the world-renowned Agape International Choir, Byars’ deeply soulful and heart-felt songs of spiritual renewal, uplift and empowerment have struck a powerful chord with audiences around the globe and she has built an impressive international following. Indeed, the vibrations of “realness” in her music are so strong that they resonate with everyone from residents of L.A.’s SkidRow to South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, all of whom she has had the honor of performing for,the latter on five different occasions.
Byars’ charismatic joy and authenticity on stage ensure that she is in high demand to appear in concert and perform at festivals and conferences. But she has amassed such an impressive catalog of compositions --- writing and co-writing over 100 original songs and chants --- that even when she’s not physically on hand to present her work her message of transcendent love is still being delivered by the many individual singers and choirs that regularly perform her material at New Thought churches and spiritual centers across the country every Sunday. Several of her songs, “I Release”, “We Let it Be”, “Th eSpirit of God is Upon Me” and “Wholly Holy Way” are considered tobe modern classics of inspirational/New Thought music.
Byars has released nine CDs as a solo artist: “ I Found a Deeper Love” (1993); “In the Land of I Am” (2000), “Soul Fulfilling” (2002),“From Within” (2003), “Pray For Me” (2004), “Supreme Inspiration”(2007), “The Love Project” (2009), “Let My Soul Surrender”, which was accompanied by a book of autobiographical stories written by Byars (2011), and “My Oh My It’s Time To Fly” (2018).
Rickie Byars is a committed spiritual activist who dedicates much of her time, energy and talents to encouraging and empowering others to be free so that they can develop their own unique gifts and talents that contribute to humanity and the planet as whole. Recognizing that freedom must exist on both the individual and collective levels,Byars is fully engaged in a number of endeavors that address both.
“Soul Sisters Retreat” --- for the past twenty years, Byars hasdeveloped and led a three-day spiritual retreat that is attended annually by hundreds of women who range from their early teens to their early nineties, and who come from a wide variety of socioeconomic, ethnic, racial and religious backgrounds. The women’s empowerment retreat fosters a deep spiritual connection that transcends superficial differences and forges the greater compassion and understanding that are necessary to create genuine social change.
“Kuumba-In-Motion”– Byars has always believed that it is imperative that children discover their inherent gifts and that exposure to nature,the arts and creative sciences helps them see these gifts more clearly, as they encourage a natural curiosity that enhances the desire to learn more. So, in 2009, she began the Kuumba Saturday School, a creative and immersive educational experience for children and their families. In 2011 she and a team of interdisciplinary artists designed the College for Life Seminars for a continuation high school of LAUSD. In 2012, Byars realized there was a need for an enriched arts program/summer camp for children whose parents have limited economic resources, so she started one! Financed through donations from members of her spiritual community, her choir and her fans, Kuumba reaches out to the families from underserved communities, along with kids from other parts of town, so that they can experience the fun of summer camp, expand their knowledge of the city through daily field trips, explore their creative gifts and talents and enlarge their perspectives about the possibilities for their lives. Anew generation of leadership will one day arise from these “Kuumba Kids!”
“Voices4Freedom” abolitionist --- Byars sits on the board of this abolitionist organization that works to free those among the 70 million individuals, most of them women and children, who are enslaved around the world today. She recently visited Varanasi, India whereVoices4Freedom is active. Rickie and a team of eleven people are personally committed to financially supporting a recently liberated village for three years while its residents make the transition from slavery to economic self-reliance.
“HubCity Live: Ethiopia/the Minchu Project --- Rickie now has turned her sites toward her Mother Land of Africa as the Founder of HUBCITY LIVE/ETHIOPIA – MINCHU Project. It is a technological futuristic city planned for Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. Known by many Ethiopians as "The Real Wakanda,” the Afro-futuristic project will usher in next-generation technologies, conscious commerce, innovation, culture and opportunity to an emerging Afrika.
a voice of FReedom. A Voice of Progress.