Lionel Richie Says Drake Puts A “Different Twist” On Songwriting

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Lionel Richie’s dominant popularity from the ’70s well into the late ’80s cemented an influence that lives on through today’s pop artists. While speaking to GQ about his songwriting prowess and this generation’s crop of musicians, Richie shared he’s fond of Bruno Mars and Drake’s lyrical talents.

“These are guys who are singer-songwriters, guys who when someone says, ‘Tell me about why you wrote the song,’ they can say something besides ‘I passed the audition’ or ‘Somebody wrote it for me, ‘ ” he said. The “Hello” singer then elaborated on how Drake can be seen as an updated version of himself as a songwriter.

“It’s a different twist, but he’s still giving you the stories,” he said. “I’m a storyteller. So, you know, there are writers in the rap world. They’re telling you stories, and you’re falling in love with the stories.” On Drizzy’s More Life album (2017), his song “Blem” sampled Richie’s hit “All Night Long.” Since that reimaging of the 1983 song, the Canadian artist has been compared to the former Commodore by popular producer/songwriter Mark Batson. In a statement given to Rolling Stone, Batson said Drake formed his own path while others around him were following another trail.

“He made his own lane, and the person I would compare him to in that regard is Lionel Richie,” Batson said. “When everyone was doing hard funk music, Richie created this smooth lane, and wrote great songs.”

In recent years, Drake has been called out for ghostwriting allegations, a subject he touched on in The Fader three years ago. “It’s just, music at times can be a collaborative process, you know? Who came up with this, who came up with that — for me, it’s like, I know that it takes me to execute every single thing that I’ve done up until this point,” he said. “And I’m not ashamed.”

READ MORE: Another One: Drake Beats The Beatles’ Billboard Song Chart Record