Robert James “Bob” Ritchie was born on January 17, 1971 in Romeo, Michigan to William “Bill” Ritchie, a car dealer who owned several local dealerships, and Susan Ritchie. He attended Romeo High School. His family also owned a six-acre orchard and Robert regularly helped pick apples and cared for the family’s horses. He has three siblings; the two elder are brother William “Billy” Ritchie and sister Carol Ritchie and his younger sister, Jill Ritchie, is an actress. Ritchie found small-town life dull and became interested in rap music, learning how to breakdance and participating in talent shows in the Detroit area. At age eleven, he joined a breakdance crew called the Furious Funkers and taught himself to work a cheap belt-driven turntable. In high school, Ritchie djayed at parties for beer. He eventually joined Bo Wisdom of Groove Time Productions in Mt. Clemens, Michigan to perform basement parties for $30 a night. He chose his stage name while performing at these venues; club goers dubbed him “Kid Rock” after they had enjoyed watching “that white kid rock.”
His 1998 studio album Devil Without a Cause sold 13 million copies worldwide. He is a five-time Grammy Award nominee and has sold 25 million albums in the U.S. according to Nielsen SoundScan. The RIAA certified him selling 23.5 million albums. He was Soundscan’s number one selling male solo musician of the 2000s, selling 17.6 million albums; he was 17th overall for the decade.
Brian McCollum, Kid Rock Before the Fame: the Definitive Detroit Oral History, Detroit Free Press, August 6, 2015.