On February 1, 1948, James Ambrose Johnson, Jr., a musician, and performer, gave birth to Rick James in Buffalo, New York. His single mother reared James in a strict Catholic home as the third of eight children. James began pursuing a music career at a young age and left the United States Naval Reserve in 1964 to move to Toronto, Ontario since he was born into a musical family (his uncle was Melvin Franklin, the bass vocalist of The Temptations).
His father, James, was an autoworker, and his mother, Mabel, was a dancer who subsequently worked as a numbers runner. The father left the family when James was just ten years old, leaving behind a total of eight children. Because of his mother’s career, James was exposed to music and the arts at a young age and started playing music. James enrolled in Bennett High School and Orchard Park High School but ultimately left.
Personal Life & Relationships
James had several loving relationships during his life. He had a son named Rick Jr. and a daughter named Tyenza with singer-songwriter Syville Morgan. He started dating Linda Blair in 1982 when she reportedly referred to him as hot in an interview. According to James’ memoir, Blair became pregnant shortly afterward but decided to have an abortion. In 1984, the couple decided to call it quits.
Tanya Hijazi, a socialite, was barely 17 when James first met her in 1989. In 1990, they began dating, and Tazman was born in 1993. After getting married in 1996, the couple divorced in 2002 after a short-lived union. James had also worked closely with Teena Marie, with whom he had started a relationship in 1979, both professionally and occasionally romantically. James had a lot of prominent pals as well, including Charlie Murphy and Eddie. Additionally, he was good friends with Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, and Debbie Allen. Gaye even designated James as Nona’s godfather.
James’ caregiver discovered his body at his Los Angeles residence on August 6, 2004. When he was 56 years old, he passed away. Sujata Murthy, his publicist, declared that he had passed away peacefully. He reportedly passed away from pulmonary heart failure due to complications from several of his underlying illnesses. Friends and family gathered at Forest Lawn Memorial Park – Hollywood Hills for public viewing before a private service.
James first met Levon Helm after relocating to Toronto. The two grew close, and their friendship paved the way for James to engage in Toronto’s music scene. He hid from U.S. military officials using the alias Ricky James Matthews. James started the soul and rock group Mynah Birds and temporarily recorded with Columbia Records’ Canadian subsidiary. James met two of his musical idols, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, in Detroit while recording with Motown Records. Rick James was Wonder’s suggestion to James when changing his name. In 1966, Motown announced that they would stop releasing any more of James’ records until he handled his legal difficulties. At the time, James was a Navy fugitive. After telling the FBI what had happened, he was given a five-month term of hard labor at the Portsmouth Naval Prison. After being freed, he started creating music for Motown singers, including The Spinners and The Miracles. He relocated to Los Angeles, where he collaborated and got to know various well-known brands, such as Salt’N’Pepper, Jim Morrison, and Stephen Stills.
James saw a dip in his work in the 1990s when he was coping with personal and legal concerns. For most of the decade, his popularity declined, but in 2004, he returned to “Chappelle’s Show.” James began performing again after this experience strengthened his career. In June 2004, he had a performance at the BET Awards.
Rick James’ Net Worth
According to sources, Rick James had a total net worth of $35 million, primarily collected over his almost 40-year singing career and from the songs and albums he wrote and produced. When James was young, his mother danced and ran errands for a local mafia. He saw singers like Etta James perform in pubs and bars, where he became interested in singing. James struggled throughout his childhood because of his father’s departure. He claimed in his biography that he lost his virginity at the tender age of nine and, as a result, developed a kinky mentality from an early age, engaged in drug use, and was detained for breaking.
Source of income
He lied about his age when he joined the U.S. Navy at the tender age of 14 or 15 to avoid the draught. He began playing drums in a local band then, but after he skipped his regular sessions at USS Enterprise, he was sent to Vietnam. As “Rick James Mathews,” he teamed up with up-and-coming artists like Joni Mitchell and Neil Young to form the band “The Mynah Birds,” which released soul, funk, and rock songs. His net worth truly began with this.
Then he relocated to Detroit, where he met his musical idol Stevie Wonder, who convinced him to shorten his name to Rick James. Later, after a dispute, the financial supporter of Rick’s group exposed his whereabouts and name, leading to his capture by the U.S. Navy. As a result of his one-year imprisonment, he was released and moved to California to resume his music career. One of his most famous songs is “Come Get It,” another is “Garden of Love,” a third is “Fire It Up,” and a fourth is “Cold Blooded.” His enormous net worth is a result of his albums and songs.