For more than a dozen years, Richie McDonald was the voice and most recognizable face for the platinum-selling country group, Lonestar. As lead singer for the CMA and ACM Award-winning group, Richie's soaring vocals repeatedly propelled such Lonestar classics as "Amazed," "I'm Already There," "Everything's Changed," "Smile," "No News" and others to the top of the charts, solidifying the group's reputation as one of the most successful bands of the '90s. Richie's prolific pen provided material for each of Lonestar's ten albums on BNA Records and garnered him Songwriter and Song of the Year honors from BMI.
In 2007, the Texas native decided it was time to step back and re-evaluate his priorities. The dedicated husband and father of three childrenRhett, 11, Mollie, 8 and Maisie, 6 -- knew in his heart it was time for a change. He would have to leave the band and his brothers-in-music of 13 years. "I always thought that BNA Records and the band was a place I would be forever," he mused. "I just thought it was one of those partnerships that would never end. One of the very first songs I wrote when I came to town, and my first number one for Lonestar, was a song called 'Everything's Changed.' Life is all about change, and these things happen for a reason."
BNA's decision not to renegotiate the band's contract was a sign for Richie that the time had come to establish some new priorities in his life and concentrate on those things which brought him the greatest happiness: his self-penned music and his family. His epiphany came one night as he was putting his 11-year-old son to bed. "As Rhett was pulling his shirt above his head, I noticed the beginning of hair under his arms," he laughingly recalled. "I was so stunned that the little boy in Rhett was gone and asked my wife, Lorie, when it happened. 'While you were on the road,' she told me. I realized right then that in two years he would be a teenager, and I didn't want to miss anymore of his or Mollie or Maisie's childhoods."
In examining what he wanted to do with his life, the singer/songwriter realized that he wanted to continue to move people with his songs and make a difference in lives through music. As the co-writer of such songs as "Let Them Be Little," and "My Front Porch Looking In," Richie had always worn his love for his family as a badge on honor and infused his heart-felt lyrics with the emotion that love generated. As a singer and a songwriter, he had already experienced the life-changing power of a song when lyrics he penned as a result of a phone conversation with his son while he was on the road, "I'm Already There," was embraced so movingly by the military and their families that it became almost an anthem for U.S. troops serving in the Middle East. Richie says "That has to be he most rewarding part about writing songs when you can actually see the affect that it has had on other people's lives."
Richie feels strongly that today's world needs good, wholesome music, and he wants people to know him by the songs he sings and writes. With that goal and a new 10-year plan in mind, he decided to embark on a solo career, performing the kind of music that would touch people and bring them hope. He laughed, "Once I made my decision, I wanted to do everything. I'm so excited, I feel like the sky's the limit."