Richard Marx has been off the charts for well over a decade. As an artist, at least.
As a songwriter, Marx has lent his pen to the likes of Ringo Starr, Lifehouse, Daughtry and others. And an association with Keith Urban has yielded this year’s No. 1 country hit, “Long Hot Summer.”
“We’re three for three,” notes Marx, 48, who also co-wrote the Urban hits “Better Life” and “Everybody.”
“Musically it’s so effortless; we’re both primarily, instinctively melody guys. The only problem we have when we’re writing is that his approach to lyrics is very different than my approach ... and then getting through a writing session.
“We just sit around and laugh all the time. We want to hang out and have dinner and go tell jokes. That’s like our reward, ‘If we finish this verse, we can go to dinner. ... ’ But I love him. I love writing with him. I’m a huge fan of his.”
Marx is staying plenty busy as an artist in his own right, however. Though he lost his gig as music producer for NBC’s “The Playboy Club” when the series was canceled, he hopes to continue working with cast member Laura Benanti. He’s looking for a broadcast home for a concert he filmed in his home town of Chicago, and he’s putting out a five-song holiday release called “The Christmas EP,” featuring a new song called “Christmas Spirit” that he co-wrote with the Tubes’ Fee Waybill. Marx plans to release a full-length holiday album next year.
“I’m always in constant writing mode,” Marx says. “God bless technology; instead of fast-forwarding and rewinding tape after tape, I use little apps on my Mac. Any time I get an idea, whether it’s lyrical or a piece of melody, I can save it as a little MP3. And I back them up all the time.
“I’ve got pieces of 300 songs waiting to be finished. ... And then what’s funny is if I get a call that so-and-so needs a song, in the time it takes for me to go through all those ideas, I’ll come up with something new. It’s really a great place to be in.”
Richard Marx performs at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 16, at Sound Board in the Motor City Casino and Hotel, 2901 Grand River Blvd., Detroit. Tickets are $40 and $38. Call (313) 237-7711 or visit www.motorcitycasino.com.
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