Lionel Richie To Debut Country Duets at CMA Awards
Richie will release Tuskegee, his Country duets album, in March on Mercury Nashville and during the CMA broadcast he will perform select duets of his runaway hits with Little Big Town, Darius Rucker, and Rascal Flatts. Richie is no stranger to the CMA Awards stage. In 1984, Richie performed "Lady" with Kenny Rogers and in 1986, he performed "Deep River Woman" with Alabama.
"Twenty-five years is too long to wait and we are thrilled to have Lionel back on the CMA Awards stage performing alongside our superstar acts," said CMA Chief Executive Officer Steve Moore. "This is what the CMA Awards are known for. Those one-of-a-kind collaborations you don't want to miss because everyone will be talking about it the next day."
"The 45th Annual CMA Awards" is hosted by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood and features performances by Jason Aldean, The Band Perry, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Sara Evans, Faith Hill, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Scotty McCreery, Blake Shelton, Sugarland, Taylor Swift, Thompson Square, Keith Urban, Chris Young, Zac Brown Band, plus Kenny Chesney and Grace Potter singing their hit collaboration "You and Tequila," Rascal Flatts and Natasha Bedingfield singing their current hit duet "Easy," and co-hosts Paisley and Underwood in their first live televised-performance of their No. 1 song "Remind Me."
Surpassing his creative and personal boundaries, Richie comes full circle with the innovative and personal Tuskegee, performing 13 of his most revered "anthems of our day" with some of the biggest names in Country Music, including Aldean, Chesney, Billy Currington, Little Big Town, Tim McGraw, Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles, Rascal Flatts, Rucker, and Blake Shelton. On this worldwide, multi-genre album, Richie is also joined by the likes of such superstars as Shania Twain, Kenny Rogers, Willie Nelson, and Jimmy Buffett.
Tuskegee is an exciting and transcendent arc in a career that has seen album sales of more than 100 million, 22 Top 10s, five Grammys, an Academy Award for Best Original Song, a Golden Globe, and a host of other awards from virtually every major entertainment organization.
While defying boundaries and breaking barriers throughout his storied career, Richie reveals once again that Tuskegee will join the ranks of his timeless body of work that touches people of all faiths, ages and demographics across the world.
"As my songwriting progressed, I realized that my songs perfectly translated to the Country genre," says the living legend as he taps on the keys of the piano in his state-of-the-art recording studio.
It was when Conway Twitty sang "Three Times a Lady" along with songs such as "Lady" and "Deep River Women" that Richie knew Country Music was clearly omnipresent in the lyrics he wrote.
"I was born and raised in Tuskegee, Alabama. I am a country boy and proud of it. To do this project just felt natural," says Richie.
"Growing up with Country, R&B, gospel, and classical music from my grandmother and pop, Tuskegee was the perfect melting pot for my influences as a writer," he says, "and the title, Tuskegee, is a validation of my growing up there—the place I call home."
Envisioning and bringing Tuskegee to life with such grace and passion has been a rewarding, revelatory time for Richie.
"What began as a collaboration of talented people ended up being a great group of friends getting together to make great music," says Richie.
"Tuskegee is a state of mind as it is a place," he adds, "a place of possibility, hope, promise, self-empowerment, and where dreams come true."
Lionel Richie's Tuskegee Track-Listing:
"You Are" with Blake Shelton