Luke Bryan Inspires Lionel Richie to Record New Album

Country and R&B superstars met during CMT’s Artists of the Year.

Following the No. 1 success of his 2012 country duets album, Tuskegee, R&B icon Lionel Richie toyed with the idea of enlisting more country stars for a follow-up. But during last night’s CMT Artists of the Year special, he made up his mind—and he owes it all to Luke Bryan. The two performed Lionel’s hits “Oh No” and “All Night Long” to close out the broadcast.

“Luke put the final nail in the idea. I walked onstage with him and I realized the magic of performing. Country has it down pat,” Lionel told Country Weekly on the Artists of the Year red carpet. “These guys to me are just great new country. I love the idea of [recording] one thing, maybe two or three, with Luke and a couple of the other crazy guys.”

Lionel says that when he met Luke, one of CMT’s honorees, he was surprised that the loose-pelvised superstar didn’t choose to perform one of his own songs.

“I kept saying to Luke, ‘Don’t you want to do one of your songs?’” Lionel recalled. “He said, ‘Lionel, we can do my songs later. We’re going to do your songs tonight.’ Can you believe it? I’m really honored.”

And no doubt Luke is, too. Lionel says he’ll be the first artist he duets with, if Tuskegee: Part II comes to pass.

Raves Lionel: “He’s first on the list!”

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