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From bodyguard to musician - Rico Cicero comes full circle

Published:Saturday | February 16, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Rico Cicero

Cabbrina Lennox, Gleaner Writer


BORN COLIN Mills, he was given the name 'Rico Cicero' by one of his fans in Central America. Now songwriter, composer, and scriptwriter, Mills said it was his love for conscious music that inspired him to get into the music arena, which led him to forming a band.

Mills was born in Hanover and grew up in Clarendon before migrating to Canada at the age of 19. He arrived in Canada at a time when the West was in turmoil. In this atmosphere, he found himself writing peace slogans and performing with peace bands.

"I started out on the west coast of Canada in the Vietnam War demonstration. I used to write slogans and sing short songs on stage for the protesters. I used to moonlight in the nightclubs, and I found a band called the Privileged, so we used to go into Gas Town, that's a neighbourhood of Vancouver, which was more like the hippy scene, so I used to go there and sing at different clubs," Mills told The Gleaner.

After a stint in Canada, he migrated to Europe and focused his attention on the diplomatic services where the Jamaican Embassy in Brussels also accredited him. This connection enabled him to become the top bodyguard for some of the biggest names in the industry while they visited Europe.

"Being a bodyguard came about being in the diplomatic services. After that, I got employed by John Monroe because they wanted a tough guy, and my combination of being in the diplomatic services and a Jamaican, they thought that I was qualified," he said.

Mills has worked for Quincy Jones, Rod Stewart, Millie Vanilli, Diana Ross, Delroy Hall, John Oats, James Ingram, Ann Murray, Meat Loaf, Bay City Rollers, and New Kids on the Block.

Opened up avenues

These associations naturally opened up avenues for Mills, and when he had to protect the late Bob Marley from huge crowds on stage in Holland, France, and Germany, he developed ambitions of being on the platform for another reason. It was not until 2004 that he realised his dream and released his first album worldwide.

"That has done a lot for my music career because like I said, I love music, and so after doing the bodyguard work, I figured I could go into recording some day, so I started writing again.

"I love music so much, and all of that violence, it inspired me to write songs to try to change the mindset of people. So you will realise that most of my music has more to do with love and togetherness," Mills explained.

Prior to the release of Righteousness, Mills joined Kiya productions in France, promoters of the Sunrise Festival, held annually in France on August 6. He visited Jamaica a lot during those times and was involved in recruiting many local acts for the festivals.

He now owns a promotion company in Holland called Carihoz Music, which is managed by his wife. They continue to promote reggae artistes in England.

A stranger in his own land, Mills said he hopes to tap into the Jamaican market with his new gospel album Who Got the Power, which he said he expects to "change some lives, might better some people's train of thought towards righteousness and compassion and better humanity and have empathy towards each other".