Richie's new album, "Coming Home," pairs him with contemporary producers such as Jermaine Dupri, Dallas Austin, Sean Garrett and others. But the sound is vintage Richie, which the singer-songwriter says was part of his collaborators' goal.
"I was figuring out, 'What does Lionel Richie sound like in 2006,' and they said, 'Like Lionel Richie in 1986 -- that's what we're bringing back,'" Richie said. "The old sound is the new sound. All they said was 'We never had the opportunity to put you on record with the beats we use.' That's all it is."
"Coming Home" has already yielded a hit single, "I Call it Love."
Richie is to open a tour Oct. 27 in Detroit.