Richie McDonald has long been one of music's most accomplished and wide-ranging talents. Recognized as one of country's best singers and a polished and engaging entertainer, McDonald is the face and voice of Lonestar, ranked among the genre's preeminent groups. As one of the industry's most successful songwriters, he has penned some of the era's most memorable songs and earned a mantle full of awards and nominations.
The list of accomplishments McDonald brings is among music's most noteworthy. His is the voice behind songs like "Amazed," "Smile" and "No News" and the pen behind songs like "My Front Porch Looking In" and "Let Them Be Little." He has earned six gold and platinum albums, several CMA and ACM awards as well as BMI awards for songwriting. In writing and singing "I'm Already There," he was responsible for a song embraced so warmly by the military and their families it became an unofficial anthem for U.S. troops serving the Middle East.
"That has to be the most rewarding part about writing songs," he says, "when you can actually see the effect it has had on other people's lives."
He has also written songs recorded by John Michael Montgomery, Clay Walker, Billy Dean, Sara Evans and the Wilkinsons, among others.
I feel like I have reached a crossroads in my personal and professional life," he says. "I want to have a better balance and spend more time with my family and yet keep being an artist, hopefully making music that can really make a difference in people's lives."
Richie also released a Christian record ("something I always wanted to do and another side of me the fans get to hear").
McDonald is embracing as strongly as ever the wide-ranging nature of his musical talents.
"Songwriting, recording and live performance are all connected for me," he says. "My passion is writing, but when I write a song and get to record it myself, it means that much more to me because then I get to perform it. I think they're all intertwined and I don't think I could do one without the other. Still, I feel like it all starts with the song, and the rest will take care of itself."
"Nobody said it was going to be easy," he says with a characteristic smile. I think the great thing is I do have relationships I've built over the years. It's nice to go into a radio station and see familiar faces and not feel like a total stranger."
He is renewing those relationships as an artist extending his impact on the musical genre he loves, and a family man deepening his ties at home. As he carves out the proper balance between home and road, he is looking forward to the joys and thrills of that connection with his audience.
Being on stage is a thrill that never gets old for any performer, and for Richie McDonald, it is one he can see both through his windshield and in his rear-view mirror.
"I'm grateful every day," he says, "for the chance to continue to do something I love so much."