Lionel Richie Talks Genre Criticism, Authenticity in Business Week

Music veteran Lionel Richie believes authenticity wins when it comes to music.
Featured in Business Week recently, Richie took on criticism from some who might think he recorded a Country album for business reasons.
“Believe me, I love commerce as much as the rest of the readers of Businessweek. But in art, you have to be true to yourself and your musical vision. People have known me well for a long time, so if I was chasing a trend and doing something that wasn’t authentic to who I am, they would know it in just a few seconds,” said Richie. “That said, I have always tried to stay ahead of the curve while always keeping in mind what music lovers want. Throughout my career, I’ve been told that I wasn’t making the music the audience wanted to hear. In other words, I would go to an R&B convention with a song called Easy Like Sunday Morning, and they’d say, “The brother’s got to be crazy.”
With the highly successful effort “Tuskegee” under his belt, Richie went on to say music is not about writing for a specific genre, but writing and producing what is authentic to you.
“Then I would go back to the disk jockeys and say, “O.K., let me explain something to you. If Mozart were black, would he be Mozart? No. Because you wouldn’t have played him. So I’m not writing R&B music; I’m writing a gift that came through me that obviously makes sense because it’s working.” By the time I got to All Night Long, it was just, “That’s Lionel.” It was
expected that I would go left or right and certainly not down the center,” said Richie. “I guess that’s because I didn’t understand the categories and refused to fall in one.”
In related news, Lionel Richie is not opposed to completing another duets or compilation type of album. Some of the names he might be interested in working with include Coldplay and Train.