Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Hello? Is it Lionel Richie You're Looking For?

Had a real fun interview with Lionel Richie today. His new album, Coming Home, is due to drop later this month; his new single "I Call it Love" is already getting R&B radio rotation. He's due to perform with Fantasia at the "Welcome America" celebration in Philadelphia tonight.

Yeah, I know most folks see him as Nicole Richie's dad. But I'm a Commodores' fan from way back. I used to have "Brickhouse" as my ring tone and whenever I hear "Zoom" on the radio, I fly away to another time and place.

And by the way? He's 57, newly single and doesn't look a day over, say, 49. And he still rocks that jet black Gheri curl.

Here's the Cliff Notes version of what we talked about:

On why we will never hear him rap: "I tried to freestyle and it was so hard to do. The [young producers] said, 'Mr. Richie you won't make any money doing that.' That's when I realized it was an art form.

On Nicole conquering her heroin addiction: "I told her the only person who can save Nicole is Nicole. And she decided she wanted to do it and never looked back and I'm proud of her."

On being beloved in Iraq: "At first I thought it was a joke. And then the people on Nightline called me....The Shiites, Sunnis and Curds don't agree and they don't really like America....They asked them, 'What is it about America that you do like?' And they said Lionel Richie! I said, 'Lionel Richie?!'"


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