Cool grand­dad Lionel leads top F1 line-up

Mu­sic icon talks so­cial me­dia and be­ing a cool grandpa ahead of F1 gig

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - glaiza@7days.ae

The leg­endary Lionel Richie has had an im­pres­sive ca­reer, first as part of funk band Com­modores in the 70s and then as a Grammy-win­ning solo artist who pro­duced hit bal­lads like Hello, End­less Love and pop tunes like All Night Long, Danc­ing on the Ceil­ing and more. And his mu­sic is still revered to­day. He re­turns to the UAE to head­line the Yasalam af­ter-race con­certs on Satur­day and says the night is all about mu­sic, new and old favourites. “Ev­ery once in a while you go, ‘Do I re­ally feel like do­ing Danc­ing on the Ceil­ing tonight? No, I don’t re­ally feel like do­ing it again’,” he tells us. “But some­thing hap­pens where you start play­ing the open­ing lines to Danc­ing on the Ceil­ing, and the crowd erupts, and they just wake me up. They switch me on,” adds the 67-year-old. “If you’re lucky enough to have one hit record that ev­ery­body wants to hear, play that record over and over again for the rest of your life.” When asked his thoughts about mu­sic and artists to­day, he agrees it’s now a ‘tal­ent busi­ness’. “I think truth­fully there was a pe­riod of time, maybe 10 years ago, where we threw the baby out with the bath wa­ter, mean­ing – we made the busi­ness cor­po­rate,” he says. The in­dus­try has gone through a gim­mick pe­riod, he says, where peo­ple are “not look­ing for singers, but look­ing for the gim­mick of singers”. Though Richie is adapt­ing in the age of in­ter­net and so­cial me­dia – he is on Twit­ter and In­sta­gram af­ter all – he ad­mits it still baf­fles him. “I re­ally must tell you, I’m still try­ing to digest this in terms of what it’s ac­tu­ally do­ing to us as a world. I think what we’re do­ing is tak­ing the in­trigue, the magic of so­cial skills and tak­ing that out and kind of re­plac­ing it with some­thing false and phoney. My line is that I think the world we’re build­ing now is sin­cerely in­sin­cere. What I try to tell my kids ev­ery day is you’re fa­mous but you’re ‘In­sta­gram fa­mous’. There’s a dif­fer­ence.” On the up­side, he’s happy he still seems cool to his grand­chil­dren from daugh­ter Ni­cole Richie and hus­band Joel Mad­den, the vo­cal­ist of band Good Char­lotte. He says: “They just dis­cov­ered Pop-Pop (their nick­name for him) could sing about maybe nine months ago be­cause they came to my show in San Fran­cisco and they came to my show in Ve­gas. We are Pop-Pop and Daddy, and be­tween the two of us, the kids are mu­si­cally out of their minds right now so we’re both show­ing off.”

PARTY ALL NIGHT LONG: Lionel Richie will be singing live at the du Arena on Satur­day

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