Music & Me with … Ronnie Sparks (Big Time Radio)- 01 Oct 2018 -
Image: Ronnie Sparks, founder of Big Time Radio
When were you first introduced to music?
I was first introduced to music in the projects of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. We were poor, fatherless, and with four little boys, 4, 5, 7 and 9, our mom had her hands full. In the projects, we learned of “Soul” music, Motown, if you will. I never thought I could dance to Al Green, Teddy Pendergrass, The Jackson Five, Aretha Franklin, The Commodores, Barry White and many more but we did and Motown was forever ingrained in our minds. When we were able to lift ourselves out of the ghetto we moved nearby The University of Alabama where we learned so much about the world beyond the projects. We were able to sneak into private concerts that the sororities and fraternities would throw on the Friday and Saturday nights thus yielding “pop/rock” performances. And of course, at the time we didn’t really know they were cover bands, and then we’d hear the real tunes on the radio which lead us to call in requests at radio stations or add the song to our selection on the jukebox at the bowling lanes. Just hearing Credence Clearwater Revival, The Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, Boston, 38 Special, Chicago, The Whispers, The Spinners, Van Morrison, Kiss, Foreigner and many more really gave us an insight into the love of music and artistic craftiness. Then in the early 80’s I left for Texas to live with my father. This is where the love for country music and two-stepping swooped me into music oblivion. I will forever have a place in my heart for ALL music. As the O’Jays sang it best, “I love music, any kind of music.”
Tell me about your favourite teachers
Ms. Foster, my creative writing teacher, played a big role in what I am today. She taught me so much about writing, reading and just creative thinking. She allowed me to always write from my heart even if it were not the subject we were studying in class. She will forever be remembered as my favourite teacher from high school.
What are your fondest and proudest musical memories?
I have only been able to see five concerts since I have been living. Elvis was the most remarkable musical memory I have, followed closely by the Alabama band. My proudest musical moment is when I was able to join a band in Tahoka, Texas and help sing back-up during a church gig.
What is your favourite TV theme tune and film soundtrack?
It would have to be Maxine Nightingale’s “Right Back Where We Started From” from the movie “Slapshot” starring Paul Newman, followed closely by Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” from the movie “Top Gun.”
What was the last download/ CD you bought?
The last purchase/download was by Indie Artist Jimmy Armstrong from Europe.
Imagine you’ve been given USD 300.00 to spend on equipment, downloads, vinyls, CDs, DVDs or concert tickets. How will you spend it?
I would purchase a new microphone for use on my Live broadcasts of “The Crossroads w/Ronnie Sparks” and pay some of the costs that have put me further in debt while starting and keeping BigTime Radio on air for the indie artists.
How do you balance music with other obligations?
I work a full-time job, I am a father, husband, and friend therefore all of my musical efforts are done after working hard every day for the company I work for and after my spousal and fatherly duties I give all I have left to the artists and listeners of BigTime Radio.
Happiness is … keeping my word to help those who need help and giving my family all the love I have left. Money can’t buy happiness but it can make things easier. Music will always win over money because with each song you get a new feeling. A feeling of relating to one’s home issues (sad), a feeling of being free (happiness), a feeling of living (energy) and just that feeling of feeling good about everything (wholeness/completeness).
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