As a ghostwriter, biographer, and lyricist, David Ritz has worked with some of the biggest names in music, such as Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, and Marvin Gaye. Now, in his inspiring memoir, he shares how writing for these legendary artists led him to faith.
Over the last forty-five years, David Ritz has collaborated with some of the biggest stars in music. Working to give a voice to these iconic musicians, he found his own, and following the sacred pulse he calls “The God Groove,” he also found belief in Christ.
In his moving memoir, he recalls growing up as a secular Jew in New York and Dallas, and finding himself drawn to the smoky jazz clubs and Pentecostal churches where the music touched something deep in his soul, unlike anything he’d ever felt before. It was this love of music, coupled with an equal passion for words—both language that flowed across the page and language sung out loud—that led him, against all odds, to convince Ray Charles to hire him as a ghostwriter. Through this first project, David learned the art of capturing another’s voice.
As Marvin Gaye’s biographer and cowriter of “Sexual Healing,” David learned about Marvin’s father, a charismatic storefront preacher in an ultra-strict Christian sect, but he also saw the visceral love Marvin had for Jesus. David’s conversations with Aretha Franklin, conducted during the two-year process of writing her memoir, yielded further insights into Christianity. Threaded throughout David’s story are in-depth conversations with Willie Nelson, BB King, Janet Jackson, Smokey Robinson, Etta James, Buddy Guy, and Jessi Colter, all of whom shaped his thinking about faith.
The God Groove is a moving, deeply personal, and inspiring memoir about the unlikely ways God works—if we listen to Him.