With more than 30 million records sold worldwide, Richard Marx's first seven singles, including "Don't Mean Nothing," "Right Here Waiting" and "Should've Known Better," hit the Top Five on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart. A savvy businessman, Marx, 48, has made a second career as a songwriter and producer for other artists. But this holiday season, Marx is celebrating the release of his latest effort, "The Christmas EP," with a worldwide tour. Go to http://www.richardmarx.com/tour/ for current concert dates.
"For most of my life on tour in the early days, I rarely -- I mean rarely -- went out anywhere," says Richard Marx. "I was always concerned with getting rest and saving my voice. The tours were grueling in terms of schedule. I would often play nine or 10 shows in a row, then a day off, then nine or 10 more. It didn't allow for much sightseeing. Now I use touring as a great reason to get out and see as much of the town I'm playing in as possible."
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. The One and Only Ocean Club in Nassau (Bahamas) is pretty amazing. It's an aesthetically gorgeous location and the staff is expert at accommodating just about anything. I love how quiet and private the property feels. The food is also great, and the vibe inside the restaurant, Dune, makes it a great experience.
Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A. One of my favorites is Westport, Conn. It's a quaint little town with good restaurants and the classic East Coast feel. I also love Greenwich, especially for driving around and "estate watching."
Q. What is the greatest vacation spot you've ever been to?
A. David Copperfield's island, Musha Cay. It's extremely pricey, but we were David's guests one weekend last year. He and I are longtime friends. It's hands down the most perfect spot I've ever experienced. Because of his lifetime of worldly travel, David has expertly collected the best of everything and installed it all in one spot. It's the ultimate in quality from the bed linens, to the food, to the best jet skis, to the soaps in the bathrooms. There's an outdoor drive-in movie theater and they'll also set up lunch on a sand barge in the middle of the water. Amazing. Can't recommend it enough.
Q. Where did you take your kids on vacation?
A. Family vacations are generally about relaxing and connecting with each other. When my kids were younger, we'd often rent a house somewhere like Turks and Caicos or once in Tuscany. Some incredible memories.
Q. What are your five favorite cities?
A. Not in order: Melbourne (Australia), New York City, Heidelberg (Germany), London, Chicago.
Q. Where have you traveled to that most reminded you of back home?
A. I find Toronto to have a similar feel to Chicago. The people are friendly. The suburbs remind me of Chicago burbs. And there's great food to be had all over the place.
Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
A. Israel is high on my list. I recently visited Moscow for the first time, which had long been at the top of that list, and it was better than I imagined. I'd also like to spend some good quality time wandering through Spain and Portugal.
Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. My iPod. My laptop. Some good granola, energy bars and jelly bellies. I used to take a sound machine to help me sleep, but now I just use an app on my Mac.
Q. What would be your dream trip?
A. Two solid months in as many nooks and crannies of Italy as I can find. Eating great local cuisine and drinking wine. Reading books I haven't gotten to and living amongst the locals.
Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you're on the road?
A. I'm not guilty about it, but I try to find the best local coffee place and start my day with a big iced mocha. I am always hoping to avoid the major chains and support the locals.
Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?
A. I check out restaurants and, as I said, local coffee joints. I also always need a gym, so if there's no decent one in whatever hotel I'm in, I'll find a great place to work out, even if I have to drive half an hour.
Q. What is your best and worst vacation memory?
A. Best? Italy in 2006. Worst? My first trip to Paris in 1985. I couldn't afford the best of, well, anything. The food I had wasn't good. The hotel was kind of a dump. And although I spoke as much French as I knew from high school, most of the Parisians I encountered were the epitome of the cliche. Arrogant, unhelpful and clearly not fans of Americans. My next trip there was about five years later under totally different circumstances and it was great, as has been every visit there since. Now I love going to Paris.
(Jae-Ha Kim is a New York Times bestselling author and travel writer. You can respond to this column by visiting her website at http://www.jaehakim.com. She welcomes your questions and comments.)
Go away with ... Richard Marx
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