5 Questions with Richard Marx
by Dylan Miller
068 Thinking back to childhood, how was it to live in a household with two musical parents? Did you play with music or write songs as a child?
RM There was always music in my house but often it was the music my dad was composing. I never knew anything else. I started playing piano and guitar as a young kid and then started writing songs at around 15.
068 Do you have a songwriting method, or do songs come to you in different ways?
RM Almost always it begins with a musical idea in my head. I rarely start a song using an instrument. I just imagine it and hear the whole arrangement in my mind. The drums, guitars, everything. Then I sit down and work out what I’m envisioning and then write lyrics to that finished music. Sometimes a title or concept comes first but that’s rare.
068 You’ve been philanthropic in your life, and many of your songs act as commentary on a particular issue or accompany fundraising efforts. What is music’s role in alleviating widespread issues?
RM Music brings people together. It’s communal. So, using it to shine a light on important issues seems like a natural thing. What events like Live Aid or the Concert For New York did was really wonderful.
068 You’re still very much in the scene, releasing an album Limitless in 2020 and appearing in Family Guy earlier this year! How has your style changed over the years, and are there other genres that have inspired you to try something new?
RM I’ve always been a product of my influences. It’s just that these days I’m inspired by the music of the day. I don’t sit around listening to old music. I want to hear what people are creating now and see how I can invite elements of it into what I create. This notion of “there’s no good music these days” is only from old people who stopped listening. I won’t let that happen to me.
068 A lot has happened in the past year. Are you working on anything else for the future?
RM I’m always working on new projects, and I have a really cool concept album up my sleeve for 2023. But right now, I’m just focusing on how grateful I am to be back onstage playing for people. •