Sixty-six and still going strong! World-renowned musician Lionel Richie has been named the 2016 MusiCares Person of the Year. He follows a long line of famous musicians like Bob Dylan (2015), Sir Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Barbra Streisand, Neil Young and others who have also been felicitated with the same award.
MusiCares, a foundation for struggling music artists honoured the music legacy of Lionel Richie by recognising his charitable work for AIDS, famine, human trafficking, women’s issues and poverty. Talking about their choice this year, Neil Portnow, the foundation’s president and CEO said, “It is truly a privilege to be paying tribute to Lionel, whose musical gifts and philanthropy have touched millions of people around the world.”
He will receive the award next year and the award ceremony at the 26th annual MusiCares benefit gala (scheduled two nights before the 58th Grammy Awards, on February 13 2016) will celebrate his most memorable hitsong ‘All Night Long’ which has sold over 100 million records.
The man himself was ecstatic and said, ”As far as I’m concerned, this is the highest honor in our music business because it means you have a career. You’ve survived the journey, if you will. The people who have been there defy categories. When you say Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney — are you kidding me? When I got in this business I wanted to be like them.”
Artists at the gala will also pay tribute to the singer with a grand concert which will include performances by Pharrell Williams, Lady Antebellum and Luke Bryan and others. Other events will include a reception, a dinner and a silent auction to raise money for MusiCares and the struggling artists it helps. Talking about the foundation, Richie said, “It really is the top of the mountain when it comes down to what your industry gives as recognition for great work, and the opportunity to help raise funds to sustain MusiCares’ critical safety net of programs for members of the music community is momentous to me.”