With his latest outing, Richard Marx shows that he is not only a talented songwriter, but also has a gift for gossip. On Tuesday, the Grammy-winning musician behind eternal pop-rock hits “Right Here Waiting” and “Endless Summer Nights” released his first memoir “Stories to Tell” (Simon & Schuster), which shares his name with an album by 2010.
Nearly 300 pages, it’s a quick and engaging read that offers candid snapshots of an illustrious career spanning over 30 years. The pages are filled with stories from Marx’s Midas twist on his own No.1 14 singles as well as the scoop on successful collaborations with the likes of Keith Urban, Luther Vandross and even ‘N Sync (it was Marx who has writes and produces the boy group’s megahit “This I Promise You”).
“It was never an intentional thought to write a book. It all happened so organically,” said the Chicago native on a phone call from Malibu, Calif., Where he now lives with his family. wife, former MTV VJ and model Daisy Fuentes, after years of raising her three sons with ex-wife Cynthia Rhodes in Lake Bluff.
“These are all the stories I have told on stage in years, when I first started doing acoustic solo shows in theaters about nine years ago. My goal at every show is for people to come out of there and feel like they’re hanging out with me for a few hours, and that’s what I wanted in my book, ”he adds. Marx’s laid-back and highly vocal narrative style shares the same tone as his Twitter feed, which has garnered a lot of attention in recent years for burning Donald Trump and speaking out in favor of social issues.
“I’ve had a really unique career too,” he adds, “and when you’re exposed and working with such a wide range of superstar performers and songwriters, if you don’t get away with it. funny stories then you don’t care.
Now 57, Marx humbly begins his book with memories of growing up in Highland Park, Ill., In his father’s studio on the Mag Mile (Dick Marx was a much sought-after publicity jingle writer) and his first moment “on stage” singing “I want to be free” from the Monkees while in kindergarten at North Shore Country Day School.
But it’s when Marx moves to Los Angeles that things get really interesting. He was encouraged to do cross country by none other than Lionel Richie – the quintessential story of the breakthrough of emerging artists after Marx’s teenage demo tape fell into the hands of the great Commodores – and he tells how that one moment of kismet kicked off the rest. of her career.
“One of the best parts of the book is that it gave me the opportunity to praise people like Lionel. Not just for the opportunity he gave me, but to show what kind of person it took to do what he did for me, and I’m sure he did for others ” says Marx, who adds that he’s very happy to see Richie mentoring others. on the episodes of “American Idol”. “His whole MO is to be a gracious, kind and supportive human being. I can’t say enough about him, everyone should know how amazing Lionel is.
Another person Marx goes into great detail about in “Stories to Tell” is the late singer Luther Vandross, with whom he wrote the heartwarming hit “Dance With My Father” in 2003, shortly before Vandross passed away. In his stories, Marx humanizes these megastars and lets readers discover characters that audiences might not see on the surface.
“In Luther’s case, I feel responsible for keeping his memory and his legacy alive. that’s about why I do ‘Dance with my Dad’ at every show because I don’t want people to forget about it, ”says Marx. “He’s been gone a long time now and I miss him a lot; he was one of my best friends.
There are also moments of levity – the time he caught Prince playing hoops outside a studio, meeting his idol Davy Jones as a child and again at an airport years later, his fear. to meet Madonna, Whitney Houston revealing to her when she was pregnant and the time he pretended to be Barry Gibb on the Barbra Streisand record.
A “soundtrack” album completing the book ends with a new song titled “Take Me Down” which he wrote with country singer Vince Gill for a new unannounced project. As Marx says, “I wanted to end in the present and look to the future,” alluding to the many stories he will tell in the future.