I was very careful, upon starting my conversation with Lionel Richie, to say hi, not hello. If I was going to talk to one of the most prolific, talented, and influential figures in the last half-century of music — a man whose songs, like 1984’s hit ballad, “Hello,” make up a significant portion of my childhood’s soundtrack — I wasn’t about to open with what could be construed as a pun.
Turns out, however, that he wouldn’t have minded.
“I have people that walk up to me and they go, ‘Hello,’ and they apologize a lot. ‘I didn’t mean it like that,'” he tells me. “That’s exactly why I wrote ‘Hello.'” And it’s why he named his new eau de parfum and eau de toilette after the song — the Grammy-winning legend thrives on encouraging connection.
Richie is responsible for writing and singing some of the most amorous songs in pop-music history, so while it may seem like a lot of celebrities launch scents just because it’s what a lot of…