Pop icon readies to take Center stage

Pop icon readies to take Center stage
Richard Marx takes the stage at The Center for one night only on March 23. - Submitted

ANNA MARIA ISLAND – The latest icon to take the stage at The Center of Anna Maria Island will take audience members back to those endless summer nights.

Award-winning singer, songwriter and author Richard Marx takes the stage on Wednesday, March 23 at The Center as part of the Bradenton Gulf Islands Concert Series presented by Bradenton Area Arts and Culture, The Sandbar and Cedar Cove Resort and Cottages.

Marx told The Sun that this would be his first trip to Anna Maria Island, and it’s an experience that he’s looking forward to.

“It’s one of the few places that I haven’t been yet,” Marx said. “First time’s a charm, hopefully.”

After taking a two-year involuntary hiatus from performing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Marx said he’s happy to be able to play for his fans again and form a more personal connection with the audience.

Stepping back up on stage after two years away from playing live was an emotional experience for Marx, who said he was a little nervous before the show began. “It turned into a two-and-a-half-hour party,” he said of the show, something that he hopes to bring to his performance at The Center.

“They’re like my friends,” he said of the audience. “I’ve never enjoyed touring more and I’ve never been more grateful to still be doing it, having people show up.”

In addition to playing some of his best-known hits, including “Endless Summer Nights,” “Right Here Waiting,” “Hazard” and “Should’ve Known Better,” Marx said the audience at The Center can expect a night full of great music, fun stories and just a great time hanging out together for a few hours.

“My goal every night is that people go home feeling like they hung out with me for a couple of hours and that they kind of got to know me a little bit and that they laughed and that we just had fun together,” Marx said. “Now, more than ever, I feel like I have the ability to provide a two-hour escape from the world and reality and that’s a pretty valuable thing to be able to give somebody. I’m giving it to myself as well at the same time.”

While at home during the pandemic, Marx took time to play a few acoustic shows available online. The pandemic also gave him the opportunity to realize a career milestone outside of the music industry – he became a best-selling author.

With his first book, “Stories to Tell,” Marx said it felt like less of a memoir and more like a conversation about some of his more entertaining life experiences that he’s having with friends over a martini. The book illuminates some of the twists and turns in his life that led him to write some of his most popular songs, though Marx said it’s not just about the stories behind the songs. And with one book under his belt, Marx added that he may still have some more entertaining stories to tell that could one day make a second book. For now, he’s focused on making music and getting back out on the road.

His new album, “Songwriter,” is due out in late summer 2022 and is a very different project for the Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter.

“I love that process,” he said of the recording process. “I love making up a song in my head and hearing it come to life.”

After releasing more than a dozen pop studio albums, Marx said this one is a mash-up of four different types of music that he loves – pop, country, rock and ballads spread across a 20-track, two-disc set.

“It’s all over the map and it’s all different kinds of songs,” he said, noting that there are five songs in each genre. “It was really fun to make.”

To see Marx live, visit The Center online to purchase tickets.

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