June 29, 2013 at 1:34 PM ET
Richie told the U.K. Mirror that in the 1990s, he was going through a divorce and fighting depression
"Then a friend said to me: ‘Lionel, I have some inspirational tapes I want you to listen to,'" Richie recalled to the newspaper. "He handed me my own songs with certain ones underlined and I started listening to my lyrics – this time from the point of view of someone who needed that message.
“I used to look out into the audience and wonder why that guy was crying to one of my songs and now I get it -– it just hits something in your core," Richie said.
The singer also admitted that he wasn't always there for daughter Nicole when she was growing up. “When Nicole was young I was trying to become Lionel Richie," the singer said. "I wasn’t there as much as I should have been. ... These days we are incredibly close and I am a very proud grandfather. She’s a wonderful mother.”
Richie will start his first U.S. tour in a decade this fall. "I have never had a job in my life," he told the Mirror. "This is still my hobby and I want to use the gift for good."