In his latest album Tuskegee, Lionel Richie revisits some of his most popular songs in a collaborative effort with the likes of Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, Willie Nelson and Little Big Town.
Tuskegee, which hit stores on Monday, features Richie and 13 country stars singing some top hits of his career, including “Hello”, “Stuck On You” and “All Night Long”.
Going country may seem out of place for the pop and R&B singer who gained stardom in the 1970s with the funk and soul group The Commodores but the Alabama native is no stranger to this genre of music. “I’ve always felt right at home in country because I was raised just down the road from Nashville in Tuskegee, Alabama, where I was immersed in country, R&B, gospel and classical music,” said Richie.
He said recording his old favourites with country stars proved to be a surreal experience as he came to realise how many artists knew, and liked, his music. Some of those singers offered reinterpretations of his songs and many pushed him to bring out his best, Richie said.
Meanwhile, his biggest challenge was recording the song “Endless Love”, a duet with Shania Twain. It was the first time Twain had been in the recording studio since her long hiatus, which she had taken due to her crumbling marriage and dysphonia, a voice condition which is an impediment to produce sounds. When Twain arrived, Richie asked her when was the last time she had been on stage and Twain replied saying “it’s been seven years”. It was then that Richie said he became aware that Twain had lost her confidence as well. “I told her we both had something in common: we were both scared,” Richie stated. “I told her we’re artists and all artists are egotistical maniacs with an inferiority complex. When we walk off stage, we’re always in doubt if we can walk back in front of a microphone and sing again. Then I told her, ‘When you walk back in front of that microphone, you’ll turn back into Shania Twain’.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 29th, 2012.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ