By Fred L. Jones, Jr.
The last time Ready For The World performed in Tulsa was 2014 New Years with Tony Toni Tone and Black Street. We talked to Willie Tripplet one of the founding members of the group he stated: “We met each other competing against each other in high school, we would always go against each other in different talent shows, after finishing high school we kind of came together and started cutting tracks in the studio, so that’s how we started Ready For The World”
The group originally consisted of front man Melvin Riley, Gordon Strozier (lead guitar), Gregory Potts (keyboards), Willie Triplett (percussion/keyboards), John Eaton (bass guitar), and Gerald Valentine (drums). They had performed throughout Flint at high school talent shows and were discovered by WJLB Detroit Radio personality The Electrifying Mojo in 1982.
They gained regional fame with their first release, “Tonight,” in 1983. “Tonight” was an underground hit in Flint and Detroit which helped garner them national prominence shortly after their signing under the MCA label. They recorded their debut album, Ready for the World, during 1984 with producer Bernard Terry and engineer Charles Brown, Jr.
In 1985, the band signed to the Steven Machat-Rick Smith management company, AMI. The agreement with MCA was redrawn, and promotion and marketing dollars were committed to promote the group. This proved successful as the group was steered to #1 on the US pop charts as well as top five in all the Western European countries and Australia, with their best-known hit “Oh Sheila.” In the US, this song went to #1 on the R&B, Pop Charts, and the Hot Dance Club Play charts that year, becoming the first ever single to hold the #1 spot on all three of these charts simultaneously. The song “Digital Display” followed and hit #21.
We asked Tripplet if we could expect anything special for the Tulsa performance he said: We have a new lead singer to feature and we are going to party hard on stage, we also have a single that was released in July and we are going to release the album in the Spring of 2019, we also have a Christmas single coming out during the upcoming holiday season”.
Ready For The World will be headlining Friday September 28th at The Soulfest in Tulsa honoring the late Wayman Tisdale.