The Home Shopping Network (HSN) is launching a live concert series on March 16, and they've enlisted Lionel Richie to help them kick it off. For the "Say You, Say Me" singer-songwriter, the first "HSN Live" concert is an opportune time and place to perform songs off his upcoming country album, "Tuskegee."
"I always say that when I write songs they are not just for New York and LA, they are for everyone between," Richie tells Billboard.com. "[HSN] is the perfect partner to help invite people into my life and into my home with this album Tuskegee."
"Tuskegee," out March 26, is Richie's collection of duets with big names in country music performing many of his hits. One of those collaborators, Kenny Rogers, has been confirmed to join him on stage to perform "Lady" at the March 16 broadcast, which starts at 8 p.m. EST.
The event, titled "HSN LIVE Presents Lionel Richie sponsored by Cricket," will be preceded and followed by special programming on the network's Facebook page, including more performances by Richie and an interview with Rogers.
HSN has been a launching pad for several releases, ranging from Tony Bennett and Rod Stewart. Andy Sheldon, the network's EVP of Television and Executive Creative Director, said there's a history of great storytelling there, and that Richie fits the mold.
"Lionel Richie is one of the world's greatest songwriters/storytellers, with a repertoire of some of the world's most beloved songs," Sheldon said in an email exchange. "Our customers grew up listening to his music and know every lyric by heart, so having him kick off our first HSN LIVE concert series just made perfect sense."
The Grammy and Oscar-winning singer reveals "Tuskegee" could be the first in a series of genre albums, but that his love of country music should not come as a surprise to fans.
"Country music has always been a part of who I am and my writing," he says. "So yes, it's been apart of me as long as I can remember."
The project itself, which features Rascall Flatts ("Dancing on the Ceiling"), Shania Twain ("Endless Love") and Willie Nelson ("Easy"), began as a smaller project but quickly grew, Richie says.
"What started out as a three-week project turned into a nine-month journey," he noted. "The entire album was difficult because it's not as if everyone on the album is sitting around with nothing else on their schedule. In the end though, it was all worth it."
Starting today, fans can pre-order a special edition of "Tuskegee" on HSN's website.