Ricky Bell and Amy Correa Bell are proof that like gold, love is a risky investment, but its value endures. Bell, an industry vet who holds unparalleled longevity as a member of New Edition and Bell Biv DeVoe is creating a new legacy. He and his wife of over 14 years have a new duet single, “Gold,” an acoustic ballad of sweet devotion. Their love for each other is palpable as they sing, “Have I told you that you are gold / With all we’ve been through / It’s when I’m with you / Moments take over time /And the more moments that we find / Shine in gold.”
The couple has managed to avoid the spotlight for most of their marriage, but they are now sharing their story of triumphing over struggles that include Bell’s drug addiction and infidelity. “Coming out with what we’ve been going through, has been a healing process for Ricky and I,” Correa Bell says. “All the years of us going through it and trying to pretend that we’re good and we’re perfect, it was too much work. Now that it’s revealed, we have the freedom to move forward from it and it doesn’t have any power over us.”
After the groundbreaking New Edition biopic on BET last year, fans understood more about the dynamics of the group and their individual challenges. Bell’s recovery has been a process through which he matured. “What did it for me is that first step of admitting that you don’t have it all together and that you need help,” he said. “Once you can get to that point, it opens you up to receive the grace you’re gonna need.”
Correa-Bell, who is a talented producer and artist too, is finishing her EP which she plans to release soon. Bell revealed that her project inspired him to suggest they do something together, hence the birth of “Gold.” There are plans for a future album together. “When we did this song, what she was working on already sounded so good; I wanted to be a part of it and help introduce her as an artist,” he said. “This ‘Gold’ movement has taken on a life of its own. A lot more than what we expected. It feels good, it was great for us to create together. It’s the right time of where we are in our lives, where we are spiritually, emotionally and creatively. We’re definitely gonna do more together.”
Proceeds from “Gold” will go to the charity Direct Relief, a worldwide first responders organization. Its efforts include aid to the survivors of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the California wildfires. The original single has gained significant buzz, with a sultry remix that will have you ready to salsa or cha-cha.
Check out ThisisRnB’s candid conversation with the Bells as they discuss “Gold,” overcoming the trials of life and love, the latest chapter in New Edition’s story and more.
TIRNB: What roles did you each play in creating “Gold”?
Ricky: I’ve watched her [Amy] grow and come into her own and find herself as a musician, as an artist, and that’s what inspired me to wanna be a part of her project. Coming up with it; I listen to a lot of James Taylor, Phil Collins, Sting and Ben Rector—a lot of stuff I listen to besides R&B. We shot around different ideas and the first thing that came to mind was talking about our story and something that matters a lot to us. Bozgo picked up his guitar, strummed melodies, we hummed melodies back and forth and Amy came with the idea of “Gold” and the hook. We kinda went back and forth and built it from there.
Amy: We wrote it on the guitar thinking we were gonna write the song and make a beat out of it, but the acoustic ended up being so beautiful on its own, we decided to leave that alone and have it be its own version. We took that and decided to make a remix that’s more urban, that’s more fun, that’s more vacation vibe, ’cause Ricky and I love to vacation. We love Spain and the dance culture in Europe. I would say, “Gold” remix has that feel to it. We wanted it to appeal not just to the United States, but all over the world. We all partnered together, on this—the three of us.
TIRNB: I have to admit, I like the remix of “Gold” better than the original, I like the latin vibe. The first one is sweet and romantic, but the remix had me shaking.
Ricky: Thanks a lot. That’s why we did two versions, so you can have your choice.
Amy: I’m glad you like that version ’cause a lot of people were feeling the acoustic, now we’re starting to hear the other way around.
TIRNB: Who are the producers on the track?
Amy: His name is Bozgo, he’s somebody I was working with on my solo EP, and he’s also the guitar player on there. His father actually played live congos on the track as well, so it’s got a very live feel.
TINRNB: How did you decide for Megan Good to direct the video? Did she direct the video for the remix too?
She’s actually directed four video before this, for Eric Bellinger, her sister La’Myia Good, and a couple other people. She’s been a friend of mine for 20 plus years, now, one of my best friends. She knew we were looking for a director for “Gold” and she was hearing me vent about my frustrations of not finding the right director. Megan has witnessed our relationship from day one till now. It has a very personal feel because Megan’s basically our sister. She knew our story and she was able to capture, not only the truth of who we are, but connect it the music.
TIRNB: Amy, you’ve been doing your thing [musically] for a while. How do you distinguish your artistry from Ricky’s?
Amy: I’m a lot more into electronic dance music. I love to dance and I love to perform. My solo stuff is a lot more upbeat and fast paced. A lot of worldly music influences. I grew up listening and being obsessed with Madonna, Janet Jackson, Michael [Jackson] and a lot of the 80s bands. I’m still inspired by them, till this day. I would say, I’m a blend of all of them. When people hear my music, they say I have 90s feel to me.
I’m more into the production part of things, I like to work on beats as well. I like to sit through every part of the process. I consider myself a producer, as well as an artist. Ricky is an incredible singer and performer. We inspire each other and take from each other in different ways. He helps me with ideas for melodies and vocals. I help him with ideas for tracks and things like that.
TINRNB: You have spoken about Ricky’s addiction, infidelity and other obstacles. How have you healed from those obstacles? You go to therapy and surround yourself with others who are supportive. When you’re outside of that and you’re alone, how do you get through those moments?
Ricky: As far as all the counseling and the therapy, a lot of it is giving you tools to deal with when you’re outside of those realms. Me being in therapy for my addiction, it’s not just about beating the actual addiction, it’s not just about resisting sex or resisting drugs or alcohol. It’s about how you’re actually living your life day to day, in every area of your life. How are you treating everybody in your life? Every relationship in your life matters.
You have to understand, the acting out part—whether it’s sex or food or drugs—that’s just a symptom, that’s a coping mechanism of dealing with life. Being in recovery, you’re learning tools of how to live your life in a healthier ways. What it comes down to is, putting God in your life and practicing, not just saying you believe in God. It’s about practicing the principles that he lays forth for every area of your life. In recovery it’s a term that’s widely used: you’re only as sick as your secrets. It’s so hard for men especially, to put their egos aside and ask for help. You’re putting in a lot of work and you’re trying to save face and look good in front of people, like you have it all together. So what they tell you is that, you can’t save your face and your ass at the same time.
Amy: It’s a little bit different on my side ’cause I’m not an addict, but I’ve been affected by addiction in many ways. For me, along with being in therapy, number one: I had to clean house as far as the people I was surrounding myself with and make sure I was around people I could trust, that were encouraging me, that weren’t gonna judge Ricky or me. Number two: I think I’ve been on a journey of acceptance. There’s so many things that can be addictions. Even producing; I would sometimes lock myself up and produce two days straight and not do anything ’cause I didn’t want to face my problems. I’ve realized that when it’s time to cry, let yourself cry. When it’s time to be angry, let yourself be angry and have people you can go to when you need help. Having God in the mix, has not only humbled me, but saved my life.
TIRNB: Talk about the New Edition dynamics. I notice that Ralph and Johnnie aren’t on the tour this summer. There’s a rumor that a new New Edition album is on the way, is that true?
Ricky: As of right now, that’s a rumor. The truth is, sometimes three of us are getting along; sometimes four of us are talking, sometimes, two or this one don’t wanna have anything to do with anybody else. They’re just not there, not that we don’t want them to be. That’s honestly where it is, in a nutshell. Just like you saw in the movie, that s— still goes on today.
Amy: I think that the story isn’t finished being written, and they’re going to come back together.
TIRNB: What about Bobby Brown’s biopic, are you involved with that?
Ricky: We were on the set in Atlanta. They’re just wrapping up, as we speak. They’re gonna start running trailers for it really soon. We were with Bob as support. A couple of us have scenes—not us—but the characters, have scenes in his movie. That’s gonna be amazing, it’s gonna be two nights on BET.
TIRNB: Share something fans would be surprised to know about you as a couple or individually.
Ricky: I watch a lot of TV, that’s my guilty pleasure.
Amy : Ricky is a TV buff, this man watches every television show, every movie, every Netflix series, every HBO series. He could be a TV producer.
Ricky: We first started using drugs together, I just kept going and she stopped. She’s not an addict.
Amy: It was Ecstasy that we started using together, not cocaine. I was the first one to take Ecstasy and Ricky saw how good it made me feel. He was such a goody two shoes.
Ricky: I was like okay, I’m trying it. And it was off to the races after that.
TIRNB: That was a surprising piece for me to find out, when I watched the NE biopic. Is that why they call you “Slick”?
Ricky: Nah, They’ve been calling me that since I was 12/13 years old. It’s mainly because it rhymes with Rick and I used to think I was a ladies man. You know what they say: bad decisions make great stories.