Veteran hitmaker Richard Marx talks life on the road, not enjoying success and writing songs in restaurants.
It’s almost a decade since your last UK tour – what have you been doing in that time?
There’s been a ton of work but also a ton of life stuff – I got divorced and remarried. My ex-wife – we’re friendly, so I’m not speaking out against her – didn’t like to be on the road. My wife now, Daisy, really likes to come on the road when she can, so now I have a partner in crime joining me in all these places.
You’re the only male artist whose first seven singles reached the Top 5 in the US charts – were you able to enjoy that success?
I never allowed myself to believe it would last forever – I knew it would come to an end. I had 10 years where I could do no wrong, but I didn’t celebrate or enjoy any of it. When I did finally put out an album that didn’t do well, I didn’t freak out. But I made a decision that was maybe too rash, deciding to go back to writing and producing for other people and I abandoned my artist’s career for a while, which I regret. I could have done both.
Do people tell you what songs like Right Here Waiting and Hazard mean to them personally?
It’s the ultimate privilege when a song I write becomes a theme to someone’s life – for a graduation or wedding. One of the coolest things, many years ago, was when I was doing a record company event and I bumped into Dave Mustaine from Megadeth. He and his wife had just had a baby and all they played during the birth was my music. I just started laughing. It was so brilliant and beautiful – Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine playing my music in the delivery room.
You’ve written songs for scores of singers. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?
No. The faucet that was turned on as a teenager has never turned off. My father was a jingle writer for TV and radio commercials and he told me there was no such thing as writer’s block. If you call me and say you need a song in the next hour, I’d say OK, no problem. Those close to me have become used to me stopping and dictating an idea into my phone. I could be in a beautiful restaurant having a really romantic dinner with my wife and I’ll get this look on my face and she’ll know, and the next thing I’m talking or singing into my phone.
How did your latest album, Limitless, come together?
Sporadically and slowly. I would record vocals in a hotel room or into my son’s computer. It took me a long time to figure out it was going to be an album. But my record company wanted to work on a new album and that spurred me on.
Limitless is out now. Richard is currently scheduled to play Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall on November 20
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