Lionel Richie will receive the 2016 MusiCares Person of the Year award early next year in honor of his storied music career and charitable work for myriad causes including AIDS, breast cancer, human rights, famine, poverty and human trafficking.
Richie will be celebrated at the 26th annual MusiCares benefit gala, set for February 13th, 2016, two nights prior to the 58th Grammy Awards.
The gala, as always, will feature a star-studded tribute concert, and this year’s lineup currently boasts Pharrell Williams, Lady Antebellum and Luke Bryan. Rickey Minor, music director for American Idol and the past two Grammy Awards, will serve as music director for the event as well. Additional performers will be announced soon.
“As far as I’m concerned, this is the highest honor in our music business because it means you have a career,” Richie said in a statement. “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.”
Along with the award presentation and tribute concert, the MusiCares gala will also feature a reception, silent auction and dinner. Proceeds from the gala will support MusiCares, which helps musicians in need of financial, medical or personal assistance. Ticket information and a reservation form is available on the MusiCares website.
Richie’s music career began on the campus of the Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) where he both earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and helped form the seminal funk outfit, the Commodores. After notching numerous hits with the group during the late Sixties and Seventies, Richie embarked on an equally fruitful solo career in the Eighties. Richie has continued to record and tour, appearing on various festival bills in recent years and scoring yet another Number One album in 2012 with his 10th LP, Tuskegee.
As for his charitable efforts, Richie has been a longtime contributor to the United Negro College Fund and worked extensively on behalf of the Breast Cancer Research Center (his grandmother successfully battled the disease and lived to be 103). His music and philanthropic efforts notably coalesced in 1985 when he and Michael Jackson co-wrote “We Are the World.”