Richard Marx is reaching the end of his residency at the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel & Casino’s Donny & Marie Showroom. He has carefully crafted this acoustic show to really spotlight his hits. It is not like any other show on the Strip. You get personal stories and acoustic music from visionary in the music business.
Marx was pretty much born a musician and he has over three decades of success in the music industry under his belt to prove it. This “Satisfied: Only the Hits” show is an amazing presentation of his top hits while keeping it down to earth and personal. You will feel like you sat in his living room while he played the guitar. He delivers the hits from “Don’t Mean Nothing,” “Should’ve Known Better,” “Right Here Waiting,” to “Hold On to the Nights,” “Satisfied,” “Endless Summer Nights” and more.
What did you think when you were offered this residency in Las Vegas?
I thought hmmm. Normally it would have been a No. Then, the second bit of information was that they wanted me to do my solo acoustic show. Then, I thought that was pretty cool. That meant it wasn’t like me being in Vegas competing with ninety-four other shows all the time. It is me in Vegas competing with other shows and mine is completely different. That became interesting to me. I definitely needed a week or so to really think about it. I began to picture it all in my mind. The shows in Vegas are extremely timed. They want people to see the shows and then be back out in the casino to gamble.
I started to think through it all and had some ideas. What if I did my acoustic show but really slimmed it down and played only the hits. I wouldn’t have time to play any other tracks. I would just play the songs that people really know. Then it became very interesting. Putting it together on the production side was pretty fun. My solo acoustic show is very intimate. If I am in a theater with two thousand people, it still feels like they came over to my house and hung out with me in the living room with my guitar. It is really informal. I am always telling stories and goofing around.
What has been your favorite part of this trip?
Eating. My wife and I are vegan. That is a big challenge when you are traveling. Daisy is an incredible cook at home. She has converted all of our favorite foods into plant based version. They are so delicious. She really knows her way around a kitchen. It is incredible. There are a couple of great vegan restaurants in LA, where we live. Try being vegan in Korea though. Try being vegan in Vietnam. It is a challenge.
Vegas is great. Mostly thanks to Steve Wynne, who became vegan about ten years ago. There has been this huge change in the menus for all of the hotels and restaurants. Vegan menus are everywhere. I am looking forward to the shows but also the food. We look forward to trying new things every night.
You have worked in so many different facets of the music industry from musician, singer-songwriter, and producer to name a few. When did you decide you were just going to stick with the music industry for life?
When I was old enough to have thoughts (laughter). There was never any other way for me. First of all, I was born into a musical family. I was actually born to parents who were both making music for a living. My dad wrote, produced, arranged music for television and radio commercials. He had his own company in Chicago. He was massively successful for decades doing that. He wrote so many famous jingles. I ended up singing on a bunch of them. My mom sang on all of them. I learned my vocal technique from watching her do sessions. I learned about crafting a strong melody, arranging and producing from my dad. My dad worked his ass off. He would do sometimes two or three different sessions a day for different companies and products. He lived in his studio. I remember being young and not really understanding it at the time but, in retrospect, I was watching a father who loved his work and going to work every day. I remember thinking I want a career like that one. When I was a teenager, I wanted to be a rockstar. I wanted to get the girls and all that stuff. By the time I graduated from high school and was writing songs, it had morphed into I just want to live my life making music. I wanted to do it in whatever form it takes. I knew I would be happy as long as I was in the music business. I eventually made my first record and it was off to the races. Then ten years later, I put out a record that went double plywood instead of double platinum. I thought back on my earlier music careers and experience and knew I had to get back to those things. I didn’t want to contort myself into something just to have another hit. I knew that I had a lot of music left in me. It was just not my turn on the radio right then. That is when I wrote the *NSYNC song and got with Keith Urban. This whole other career as a writer producer really started to blossom. I have been incredibly fortunate and really worked my ass off. I have stayed really focused and I believe that the most important thing you can have is a relentlessness. I have always had that in me.
Do you have a favorite song in the show right now?
Oh yea. I do. It is one of my favorite songs that I have ever written. It is “When You Loved Me” that I wrote with Matt Scannell, who is the lead singer of Vertical Horizon. We wrote this song a few years ago. I remember when we wrote it. I love every new song that I write and finish or else you aren’t gonna hear it. There was just something about this song that was so special. I just loved it so much. It was so much fun to sing. The reason it is my favorite song in the show is because I perform it to a video of my three sons playing all of the music with me. They are all great musicians, singers and songwriters. I went in a couple of months ago and rerecorded it with them playing all of the instruments. My oldest song is playing the guitar, my middle son is playing the keyboards and my youngest is playing the drums. The audience just goes mental. It is not just all cute and look his sons are playing all of the instruments. It is wow his sons are badass. They are so good. They sing harmony to me in the video. I just love that every night, so much.
You write for such a diverse crowd of people including Luther Vandross, Keith Urban and Josh Groban. Do you have a certain person in mind when you write a song?
I have always been a student of music. I love all sorts of different types and styles of music. I can’t necessarily pull of every type of music as a singer, but I can write anything. I can produce anything. I have been lucky to be given these opportunities by such a vast array of artists. It has mostly been just people that have come to me. Keith Urban and I met through a mutual friend when he was really just starting. Every song that we have written together has been a hit for him. Luther and I became really close friends. He sang on some of my records. Then, he asked me to right some songs with him for different projects he has worked on. It is all so much fun for me to see what I can make work for each genre. I have been given all of these amazing opportunities. For years, I pursued artist to work with them. I would want to work with a given artist and I would put it out there. I figured out then whenever I pursued people it just wasn’t that fun in the end. It wouldn’t really come out write or it just wouldn’t be successful. Whenever I would have a hot or just a great time with an artist, it was because they came to me. I had to stop pursuing anything. I have to let it come to me. I am lucky that it comes to me. It is very rare that a month goes by without some sort of invitation to work with something. It is getting a little harder with me touring all the time. I am enjoying touring more than ever before though.
Is there anyone that you still long to collaborate with?
Yes, there are plenty. There are people like Sia or Tove Lo. I am huge fans of both of them. I was just at a party recently with Sia. She and I sang “Right Here Waiting” together. It was such a great three minutes. It was so much fun. I would love to collaborate with them. I would love to collaborate with a bunch of artists. The truth is that they don’t need me. They are doing fine. I am much more interested in working with artist that I feel I can contribute something to them that they don’t have. I would love to work with Rod Stewart before he hangs it up. He still sings his ass off. He is so completely vital and cool.