I received the news this morning… Ron Murphy; the man, the legend, has died of a heart attack. While I’m filled with emotions right now, I must say that right now, I don’t feel “traditionally” sad. I’ll miss him. …a LOT. You see, I knew Ron for a very long time. Even before I signed to Soul City… Ron mastered ALL of my records and CDs – and with each project, he’d give me a lesson in music mastering. I remember my goal was to finally make a record that Ron Murphy didn’t have to tweak or touch… An eager student, I finally achieved that goal – and he was proud. He LOVED my songwriting and vocal skills. He believed in my music a great deal. He told me that the ONLY thing that was holding me back from being a bona fide superstar, was the fact that I was limiting myself (by singing songs like “Uncloseted,” etc...). Ron wanted to produce me himself for a project – we jokingly called it “Trick or Treat.” Every time I saw him, he asked me “are you ready to trick or treat?” I’d laugh, but he was serious!
I’ll miss our conversations… He’d confide in me about everything – from his health, to the state of Detroit’s music. He owned the masters to recordings by my mother’s first husband, Joseph Ragland (who is not my father, although we share a last name)… I forget the name of Joe’s group, but I’ll always remember the song. “I Just Can’t Forget Your Name.” Ron would play it nearly every time I visited! He would always refer to Joe as my father – I didn’t bother to correct him anymore. His image of me following in my “dad’s” footsteps made him proud. After I realized that, I decided I couldn’t take that away from him.
Now, everyone who knew Ron knew what he was going through. I used to watch him in awe… I’d wonder, how the hell could a man suffer like this and still master some SUPER HOT RECORDS??? You could see it in his eyes. Mastering records was his passion. And watching him MASTER these records was MY passion.
On occasion I would call him, just to see how he was doing. We’d talk for a little while and catch up. I often wondered if that would be our last conversation, but miraculously every time I called him, he was there. Now God has called him home.
Although I cry, I will continue on, using the many lessons that Ron taught me over the years. I will continue to make him proud of me. And maybe one day, I will record that “Trick or Treat,” just for him.
Ron Murphy; you know I looked up to you like a father and a teacher. I will miss you here on Earth, but I know that you are now in Heaven. Please watch over Detroit. We’ll never be the same without you.