This means that Marx’s memoir is about the songs, from the start of her career with Lionel Richie to writing a piece for Barbra Streisand (1989 “Right Here Waiting”) which she rejected – because Barbra is waiting. anybody! – which meant it could become Marx’s epic international success.

Marx – also known for his attacks twitter – took a phone interview with The Globe to discuss the book (available Tuesday), which is full of stories about songwriting, gratitude for the people who helped him write and perform, and just a little on his love affair with his wife, television personality and former MTV host Marguerite Fuentes.

Q. The book clearly shows how prolific you have been in writing songs – for yourself and for others. [Marx co-wrote Luther Vandross’s ”Dance With My Father,” as well as NSYNC’s ballad “This I Promise You.”] I wondered about the effect of the past year. How did you relate to writing during the pandemic?

A. This is the first time in my life that I was not musically productive. I have so many vocal notes – I know there are a lot of little MP3s in there that are going to be awesome. But what I’ve always done until COVID is be diligent enough to dig deep and flesh out those ideas and pick 10 or 12 to make a new record. …

I had just released an album just before confinement. The last thing I thought about was writing songs, and it went on for a long time. It freaked me out a bit. After a few months I looked at Daisy and said, “I don’t write and I don’t want to write.” And she said, “You have written enough. ” [I said], “No, I know, but I still want to write about 1,000 more songs.” But for the most part, I was really getting used to the stillness.

Q. As you read about the start of your career – and your eventual fame – it becomes clear just how different your path would have been with social media. Growing up I [a 44-year-old] knew very little about you, your background, or your marriage. [Marx’s ex-wife is “Dirty Dancing” actress and dancer Cynthia Rhodes.] Do you think that made it easier for you as an artist? Compared to what musicians and stars share and experience today?

A. I think you are referring to something that I have been talking about for years, which is that there seems to be little to no mystery about anyone. You know, Bruno Mars is one of the only exceptions. I’m a huge fan of him, and I think he’s maybe the best pop singer we have right now, and an amazing performer. And you know what? i don’t know jack [expletive] about Bruno Mars. I like this. I like the fact that I don’t know who he voted for or what he likes to eat for dinner. Everything revolves around music.

Q. I never thought enough about pop music as a writing of fiction until this book. Your song “Hazard” now seems like great fiction while others are so personal. What comes most naturally to you as a songwriter? The real or the imaginary?

A. I don’t know if one is easier than the other because they are just different. You have to do both. Wrote hit songs that were relationship songs where there aren’t any a line it’s autobiographical. I have a scenario in mind, and I can get down to it, in a fictitious way. And because a lot of these songs that I wrote in my early twenties – I had only had one real relationship, which was my first marriage – I was kind of limited. … There is a song that nobody knows from an album I made in 2000. A song called “Boy Next Door”, about, you know, every time you hear about a killer in series, they say, “He was like the nice boy next door.” And I wrote an entire song about a serial killer. It was a great exercise for me as a writer.

Q. I’m talking about the genre and the way you write about women artists. I loved every part of Barbra Streisand, from her rejection of “Right Here Waiting,” until you pointed out that when people call her or other “difficult” women they would never say that to About a man in this position.

A. I just see men so easily dismiss the opinions or thoughts of women, even women who have accomplished what she has accomplished. I wanted to stress that a bit, and these are conversations I’ve had with her, in fact, over the years. Part of that comes from knowing her and seeing the frustration she felt about being fired, being discussed.

The cover of “Stories to Tell” by Richard Marx.Associated press

There is a similar sort of thing in [my] short chapter on Madonna. I felt like she was such a huge celebrity I assumed she would not being in the studio when we were working on her record, and if she was there, she’d probably just be a fucking diva. Well it turns out she produced the session – she knew exactly what she wanted, she was a total pro. She was one of the best producers I have ever worked with, and she was good at communication. I was just like, ‘Oh well, everyone that’s that famous and is all over the tabloids probably won’t have a clue what they’re doing. It was an unfair guess on my part, and it was a big surprise to be in school.

I was brought up in a home where my mother came into force at a time when the Women’s Liberation Movement was in full swing. She was submissive the way she needed to be submissive. … [Then] she was like, “No, not anymore. It will be an equal partnership. Watching this happen – even watching the conflict happen – made me respect my mom a lot more. I don’t know if that has anything to do with it. that, but throughout my life I’ve been drawn to strong women.

Q. When I told my sister that “Right Here Waiting” was written for Barbra Streisand, she asked me if Barbra had it covered, after the fact.

A. No, but that’s her beauty. The reason she didn’t cut the song when I offered it was because she found it, from a female perspective, weak. She said, “I’m not going to be here waiting for anyone.” This is such a Barbra Streisand line. It made me crack. If you think about it, she doesn’t sing songs from a victimized or weak place.

[Later], I wrote a song she did with Vince Gill. She was getting ready to make an album; I would have become friends with her by then. She said, “Let’s talk about it, maybe you could write something for it.” She was still a bit new in her relationship with [James] Brolin, who’s the coolest guy – a really cool couple. I said, “Just talk about how you feel. What is your relationship now. And she said, “It’s pretty amazing. I love him. He’s all I want him to be. And I said, “You know, you could do a song called ‘If you leave me, can I come too?'”

I laughed for a second, then she said, “Wait, wait, no, you could write that down.” There is something really sweet about this. And so I went home and ended up writing “If You Ever Leave” [a song with the lyrics “If you ever leave me, will you take me with you”]. Like, I love you so much that if you leave, I’m gonna be really, really disappointed. It is not weak. It’s just loving.

The interview has been edited and condensed. Meredith Goldstein, who learned to play “Right Here Waiting” on a keyboard while on lockdown, can be contacted at [email protected]