*Ray Chew is officially taking the former seat of Rickey Minor as music director for “American Idol,” according to the Hollywood Reporter

Chew has served as bandleader and musical director for such programs as NBC’s “It’s Showtime at the Apollo” and “The Singing Bee.” He also curated all the music for the 2008 Democratic National Convention, where “Idol” alum Jennifer Hudson sang the national anthem, and the inaugural ball ushering in Barack Obama’s presidency in January 2009, which featured performances by Mary J. Blige, Shakira, Mariah Carey, Stevie Wonder, and Sting, along with an unforgettable rendition of Etta James’ “At Last,” sung by Beyoncé as the first couple had their first dance.

Chew also has a great reputation among big names like divas Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Gladys Knight, and Alicia Keys. Recently he performed alongside Rihanna as the pianist and conductor on her hit “Unfaithful.”

With his career steadily rising, Chew is ready to tackle the new task.

“It’s sink or swim. You can’t tread water; you have to actually go somewhere. If you’re treading water and imagine yourself out in the middle of the ocean or large lake, you can only tread water for so long. If you’re swimming, you got a chance; you got a shot. You might swim to a log or something or some place where you can catch your breath and keep swimming.”