Music icon Lionel Richie takes the next step of his storied career on Monday, March 26, with the release of his highly anticipated new album, Tuskegee, which features 13 of his timeless hits performed as duets with country stars.
“Tuskegee is one of the most special albums I have ever done in my life,” he says. “It’s a moment in time when all of these artists got together and celebrated music.”
With this worldwide release comes several firsts for Richie, including his first Billboard cover, which is the March 24 issue that is on stands now, and his first performance at South By Southwest in Austin, Texas, where he received rave reviews after taking the stage of the Billboard showcase on March 14. On Friday, he achieved another career first when he performed an hour-long live concert for HSN.
Tuskegee debuted at No. 1 on iTunes Canada on Monday, the day of its Canadian release. The album is also available in United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden, Europe and Australia, and will be released to the rest of the world on Monday.
On Friday, March 23, CMT will premiere CMT Presents: Lionel Richie: Tuskegee at 10:30 a.m. ET/9:30 a.m. CT. This 30-minute show contains an exclusive interview with Richie, as well as footage from the studio with his duet partners and the “Endless Love” video with Richie and Shania Twain. On Tuesday, March 27, at 8 a.m. ET/7 a.m. CT, Richie takes over as CMT’s VJ for a Day and shares his favorite country videos in the one-hour special. BET will air CENTRIC Presents: Lionel Richie: Tuskegee on March 24 at 9:30 a.m. ET/8:30 a.m. CT. NBC’s Weekend Today will air Lester Holt’s interview with Richie on Sunday, March 25. Richie will also appear on NBC’s The Voice on Monday, March 26.
On Tuesday, March 27, he will be joined by Little Big Town to perform “Deep River Woman” on the Today show. That evening, Jason Aldean will duet with Richie on “Say You, Say Me” on Late Show with David Letterman. On Wednesday, March 28, he will be interviewed on Piers Morgan Tonight, which airs on CNN at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT.
He will appear on the 47th annual Academy of Country Music Awards on CBS on April 1 at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT. The next evening, the Academy of Country Music and dick clark productions will tape an all-star concert special, ACM PRESENTS: Lionel Richie and Friends–In Concert, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The show will air on CBS on April 13 at 9 p.m. ET/ 8 p.m. CT. Some of his greatest hits will be performed by Jason Aldean, The Band Perry, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Sara Evans, Lady Antebellum, Martina McBride, Tim McGraw, Jennifer Nettles, Rascal Flatts, Kenny Rogers and many more.
On April 2, he will perform on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Billy Currington will join Lionel on the duet of “Just For You” for ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live on April 4 and on The Talk on CBS on April 5.
Tuskegee is an exciting new chapter 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.
His duet partners on Tuskegee include Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles, Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton, Darius Rucker, Rascal Flatts, Kenny Chesney, Billy Currington and Little Big Town. 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.
The deluxe edition of the album contains a DVD featuring exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of the recording sessions with Richie and his duet partners.
“By far, this is probably the most fun ever because of the fact I did not have a clue as to what it was going to be from one session to the next,” he says. “What started out as a group of very talented, very successful collaborations with great artists ended up brand new, very good old friends. We’ve had so much fun. I learned more jokes. I’ve gotten more jokes to tell. I have jokes I can never say again.
“I’m so proud of the fact that this album has renewed my faith in mankind because this is what the business is supposed to be in the beginning, where you walk into a room and you can be you and I can be me and we can have some fun together. Egos were left not at the door but never came in the room.
“Nine months later and beyond my wildest dreams, as far as creativity, something was finished that even blew me away.”