Four-time Grammy winner Lionel Richie is being honored as the 2016 MusiCares person of the year for his remarkable career and charitable work, reports CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller.
Richie is responsible for some of the most iconic songs of the past five decades.
"The best thing that ever happens - the music stayed around, the music stuck. I mean, we're talking about the third generation of folks are now sitting in the audience," Richie said.
Born and raised in Tuskegee, Alabama, Richie led The Commodores to the top of the charts in the 1970s.
He went solo in 1982 and became a superstar, dominating popular music with 13 consecutive top ten hits, including five number ones.
But Richie had no formal music training. He said he just somehow knew how to write songs by ear.
"So, I don't know why I know how to play that -- it's just that I can play that," Richie said, laughing. "And so trying to explain it to you is harder than trying to just play it."
Of his many hits, his most famous line may be, "Hello, Is it Me You're Looking For?"
Of course, when Adele released her new single, "Hello," the similarity was hard not to hear.
The Internet didn't waste any time spoofing the two hit songs.
"Well, I was here first," Richie said, laughing before quickly adding, "No, no, listen, listen. First of all, it's only so many ways you can say 'hello.' I mean, so many people called me, 'Rich, the girl stole your song. The girl stole your word.' I said, 'No, I don't own 'hello.'"
Despite his string of enduring hits and success, Richie admitted music is "not an easy business."
"Ego is the first part that kills you, and then the second part of it... it's the stress because can you outdo your last show? Bet you can't do that again," Richie said.
Thinking of home in Alabama helped him cope and his grandmother's advice kept him out of trouble.
"We weren't keeping up with Joneses in Alabama. We were just keeping up with The Commodores. It was never hanging at the club," Richie said. "My grandmother, she said, 'Now you have to promise me one thing. I don't want you drinking any of that dope. Don't drink any of that dope.' And I just said, "Grandma, I promise you I won't.'"
Instead, Richie was focused on making music and giving back.
"As I started gaining a bit of success, then it was even more apparent that, you know, 'how do I give a voice to the voiceless?'" Richie said.
And so he did just that, when he and Michael Jackson sat down to write, "We Are The World." The remarkable collaboration raised more than $60 million for humanitarian aid in Africa.
This year, MusiCares is paying tribute to Richie for both his musical contributions and decades of charitable work at its annual benefit gala on Feb. 13, two days before the Grammy Awards.
Richie's peers - including Pharrell, Rihanna, Stevie Wonder and many more -- will honor him by singing his classic hits. The event is expected to raise millions of dollars for charity.
"I said, 'I'll receive this award if it doesn't mean goodbye' because as far as I'm concerned, I'm just getting started now," Richie said.