As a performer, songwriter and producer, RICHARD MARX’s nearly three-decade-long career has had plenty of highlights. The Chicago native has sold more than 30 million albums, starting with his self-titled debut, which went to #8 and spawned four Top 5 singles, including the chart-topping “Hold on to the Nights,” with “Don’t Mean Nothing” earning him a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Vocal Performance-Male. The follow-up, 1989’s Repeat Offender, was even more successful, hitting #1 and going quadruple-platinum with two #1 singles in “Satisfied” and “Right Here Waiting.” When both Rush Street (with two #1 AC hits in “Keep Coming Back” and “Hazard”) and Paid Vacation (with its #1 AC hit, “Now and Forever”) went platinum, Marx achieved a seven-year string of triumphs that rivaled any in pop-rock music history. To mark the release of 1991’s Rush Street, he embarked on a 24-hour, five-city blitz on MGM Grand Airlines, performing at every stop, a record that has yet to be broken. To this day, he is the only male artist in history to have his first seven singles reach the Top 5 on the Billboard charts.
For most artists, that would be impressive enough, but Richard Marx didn’t stop there, launching a second, very successful, incarnation as a songwriter and producer, with songs like “To Where You Are,” the first hit single from Josh Groban’s debut album, as well as the NSYNC smash, “This I Promise You.” He went on to earn a 2004 Song of the Year Grammy for co-authoring Luther Vandross’ “Dance with My Father,” then accompanied Celine Dion live on piano for her performance of the winning tune on that year’s prime-time telecast. He has penned songs for the likes of Barbra Streisand, Vince Gill, LeAnn Rimes, Natalie Cole, Travis Tritt, Daughtry, Lifehouse and actor Hugh Jackman, among many others. Just last year, Richard scored a #1 Country single in Keith Urban’s “Long Hot Summer,” his second with the Australian singer-songwriter after “Better Life,” from his triple-platinum CD Be Here, spent six weeks at the top of the charts. That gave Marx the rare feat of having songs he either wrote or co-wrote go #1 in four separate decades. Richard has recently participated in writing sessions with everyone from Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles and Sara Bareilles to Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger, showing his remarkable stylistic range.
Across all formats, Marx has scored an amazing total of 14 #1 singles, both as a performer and songwriter/producer, making him a true multi-talented threat who continues to challenge himself and his fans. His previous album, 2011’s Stories to Tell, produced a Top 20 AC hit in “When You Loved Me.”
Richard remains active as a live performer, having recently begun an ongoing solo acoustic tour that’s already taken him around the U.S. as well as to China, Russia and throughout Europe. In 2006, he went on the road with Ringo Starr’s All-Star Band for 22 dates in North America, playing guitar and performing his own hits. He toured as an acoustic duet with Vertical Horizon’s Matt Scannell in 2008. His recent PBS special, Richard Marx: A Night Out with Friends, part of the network’s celebrated Front Row Center music series which aired last summer, featured superstar and Oscar host Hugh Jackman’s duet with Richard on a rocking version of the Box Tops’ classic hit, “The Letter,” and is now available on CD/DVD. Richard also boasts a robust following on both Facebook (240k) and Twitter (32k), where his often-acerbic Tweets have made him a favorite with his faithful fan base, which he will continue to keep informed of his activities.
With all of his many accomplishments, Marx has long harbored a desire to record a Christmas album to make good on a promise to his late grandmother, an important part of his family growing up, who died in 1989. With Christmas Spirit, released by TourDForce through INgrooves Fontana, he has fulfilled that commitment in grand style. The album features a selection of traditional holiday songs, a pair of originals co-written with Dave Grusin and Fee Waybill, and a list of guests including Kenny Loggins, Nickel Creek’s Sara Watkins, frequent collaborator Matt Scannell and Sara Niemietz, who performed with Marx on his PBS special after Richard’s kids discovered her on YouTube.
Richard has also made a commitment to several different causes, from donating the royalties from his hit single, “Should’ve Known Better,” to build a room at the NYU Medical Center for pediatric cancer patients, to his 1989 recording of “Children of the Night,” which brought attention to the plight of homeless children on the streets, raising more than $500k for the Children of the Night Foundation. Marx has also performed benefit concerts over the years for the TJ Martell Foundation, Toys for Tots, Make a Wish Foundation, the American Cancer Society, Best Buddies and the Special Olympics. Richard and his band entertained the U.S. troops stationed in Germany and, since 2008, he has hosted an annual event in Chicago for the Ronald McDonald House Charities, the first of which featured a concert by Richard and Kenny Rogers. Richard has also organized an annual all-star benefit concert for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, raising more than $4 million for research to cure the disease.
“I’m at a great place right now, because my motivation is not my image, fan base or even album sales, which has freed me to do stuff I enjoy,” admits Marx, “and that makes it fun.”