Lionel Richie...

[First Hand Report From Leigh W]

Vancouver AC radio had a one hour special with Lionel Richie debuting his new album, 'Renaissance' yesterday.    Lionel had a lot to say about Whitney. On the subject of today's music, Lionel was asked who his favorite singer was today. Without missing a heartbeat he said "..Oh, Whitney Houston, without a doubt.." The interview asked Lionel "Why Whitney, why not Celine Dion..?"

Lionel replied [paraphrased]
"...Celine is Celine, she is a great singer, no doubt about it, but musical relevancy and artistry belongs only to Whitney Houston. Whitney is much bigger than we think she is. Unfortunately, the music world will not appreciate her talents until, heaven forbid, she should pass!"

Interviewer: Elaborate please!

Lionel: Whitney is an all around entertainer. Her voice is the best in the business. And I know many in the real music world who will contend that she is the best in 30 years. But again, we don't want to step on any egos. When I first worked with Whitney on the Preacher's Wife, I was amazed at her ability to sing gracefully, technically and emotionally. Do you know how many times that girl sang 'I Believe In You And Me'? Over ten times, in the final mix, they combined 3 of the 10 performances which was totally unnecessary. When I played that piano, trying my best to concentrate on the actual playing was a very difficult task. Whitney's voice is a gift from God, she is music without end. I wrote several songs for an upcoming album of hers and we will do our duet together someday.

Interviewer: With that in mind, what is your opinion of her current troubles?

Lionel: What troubles? I've only read and heard what other people have said about Whitney. I saw Whitney a few months ago at the height of the madness, and she was fine. There was nothing that indicated drug use. I refuse to believe it! When you reach certain heights, they attack you. I've been there, first your own attack you, and then the sharks feed on what's left over. Michael, Diana, Aretha, all the greats have been through this type of attack.  Whitney is in a class of her own and her talent scares a great deal of people in the industry. No one can and will ever sing like Whitney Houston.

Interviewer: What do you think of the young crop of singers?

Lionel: They're okay. This Monica girl is gifted and I've heard Christina, perhaps a bit too much. Kelly, Celine, there are many but unfortunately the music industry is lacking in really good music today. We need a person like Whitney Houston to bring back the big sweeping ballads and the real dance ditties that all of us have grown up with. I'm itching to come back but I tell Whitney that until she goes full swing, the state of radio will be in a flux. Plus, I need me a big hit(!)

Interviewer: Your admiration for Whitney's work is incredible. Who are you working with now?

Lionel: My lips are sealed but I love to talk about her, don't I. (Laughter)

Interviewer: What is your favorite Lionel Richie song?

Lionel: All of them.

[Thanks Leigh]




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