Singer Lionel Richie attributes family, God to his generational staying power

After over four decades in the music business, music icon Lionel Richie says his grandparents and parents along with his belief in God have contributed to his illustrious career as a singer and songwriter.

“To this day, you can only say it was the luck of God that kept it a part of the fiber of life and the family. It kind of interjected all our experiences growing up, it’s all in the family and all in the songs,” said Richie.

This comes as Richie begins a new concert series at the Axis Theater at the Planet Hollywood Hotel on the Las Vegas strip. “All The Hits” includes famous numbers like “Dancing on the Ceiling” “All Night Long” and “Three Times a Lady.”

“We took the show and put a little steroid magic on it, little salt and pepper and bring it back," Richie said. "It’s gonna be different.”

Aside from his tour dates, he also has many ongoing projects and most anticipated is his debut as a judge on the new iteration of “American Idol,” premiering early next year.

Richie joins fellow judges Katy Perry and Luke Bryan in trying to pick the next pop superstar. He said he felt like he had to be the elder statesman in charge of the kids referring to Bryan and Perry, but that it was the opposite.

“I really want to find a real artist, a real star, the problem is they’re already so much under pressure, you’ve got Luke, Katy, and myself, that’s already enough to make me nervous. That’s like saying, Marvin Gaye, Madonna…" he said. “You’ve got three artists that you idolize forever standing in front of you, I don’t have to scare you, what I have to do now is educate you.”

With that in the works, Richie is also producing two biopics on his late friends and fellow performers Sammy Davis Jr. and Curtis Mayfield. Like Davis, Richie is no stranger to Vegas and was shocked at the news of the Mandalay Bay shooting just a couple months ago.

In a surprise announcement, Richie said he was inviting 400 first responders who assisted victims in the aftermath of the Oct. 1 Las Vegas shooting to the first night of the concert series.

“It’s a live show’s worst nightmare. That was just the worst I’ve ever imagined. I can’t imagine being on the stage and watching this happen,” said Richie.

The shock of that event didn’t stop Richie from going to Vegas. He reflected on his enduring career that has spanned generations.

“The best sales people in the world are mom and dad and grandma and grandpa. Whoever was in the house they played it [his music] for the next generation,” he said. "That’s the best of it all, when people say my mom and dad were married on your song and now I’m getting married on your song.”