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Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

Lionel Richie Wins The Gershwin Prize in DC

Lionel+Richie+Wins+The+Gershwin+Prize+in+DC

Meera Trujillo

Staff Writer

On March 7, 2022, Lionel Richie won the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. The Gershwin Prize for Popular Song acknowledges songwriters that have spent their life dedicated to their craft and celebrates songwriters’ achievements in music. This award is truly a milestone artists can only dream of achieving. The previous winners include Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Willie Nelson, and Carole King. This year, the Library of Congress awarded Lionel Richie the award to commemorate the accomplishments in his lifetime. 

This event was held in Washington DC at the Library of Congress on Mar 7, 2022. Lionel Richie was interviewed by Dr. Carla Diane Hayden, the 14th librarian of the Library of Congress. During the one-hour interview, Richie discussed how music shaped his life and how he discovered that he wanted to be a songwriter. “I didn’t know I wanted to be a singer quite yet, but songwriting was close because this was build-up,” Richie said, “I became the lead singer of the Commodores because I sang the song that I wrote.”

Lionel Richie is known for his R&B and Country style of music. However, Richie did not realize that there were categories that he had to fit into. “I didn’t know that R&B was supposed to be for the black guys, pop was the white folks, and country was for — country folks.” Rather, Richie was raised in a family where he grew up with classical music in his Tuskegee Alabama home, country, and pop on the radio neighborhood stations, and he had a love for jazz as well. “So what you have is a melting pot…of sounds and things happening in my head,” Lionel said. 

Finally, Richie discussed his writing experience upon writing “We Are the World,” one of the best-selling singles of all time with over 20 million physical copies sold. Though this single with 45 featured artists raised over $60 million for the victims of famine in Africa, Lionel Richie found it “absurd…that we had to write a song to raise money to save human beings.”Richie recalls memories of writing this song with Michael Jackson. “We’re not writing a song, we’re writing an anthem,” Richie had said to Michael. Most importantly, Richie believes that the song is more valuable today than it was when it was being written: “There’s a choice we’re making our own lives…because one day it’s going to be at your doorstep and it might be you.”

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Lionel Richie Wins The Gershwin Prize in DC