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"It's so great to be a part of a festival that for two decades has helped launch the careers of some important new artists and celebrates iconic artists who have had a lasting impact on the musical landscape," the Alabama native tells Billboard magazine. "I'm looking forward to checking out some of the new bands that I've been reading about for the last several months and making some new friends who share my passion for music."
Lionel will be joined for the showcase by several other acts, including Polica, Wallpaper, Vintage Trouble and The-Dream.
The former frontman for the Commodores promises to give a preview of his new album ... with help from a famous friend. "I will be joined by a surprise guest who will help me unveil music from 'Tuskegee," Lionel reveals, referring to his upcoming CD of duets. "I can't think of a better way to launch this album than by sharing the new music at South By Southwest."
'Tuskegee,' which features some of his most-beloved classics with several country artists, including Shania Twain, Rascal Flatts, Darius Rucker and Kenny Rogers, was a chance for the music icon to reinvent his own tunes.
"The beautiful part about this album is I wanted [my duet partners] to own it; I wanted to make it a part of who they are," Lionel explains to The Boot. "A lot of times when you do duet albums, they try to copy the artist they're paying tribute to. What I wanted to do was bring in everybody and their arrangement so that it would sound like something they would do on their own."
Next up, Lionel will hit the stage with several of his Music City friends -- such as Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw, Lady Antebellum and Kenny Chesney -- for 'ACM Presents: Lionel Richie and Friends -- A Lifetime of Hits.' The show will be taped on April 2 (one day after the 47th annual Academy of Country Music Awards), and will air on CBS at a later date.
'Tuskegee' will hit shelves on March 27. Pre-order a copy here.