Lionel Richie is releasing a country album.

The ‘All Night Long’ hitmaker insists he didn’t deliberately set out to create a record in the style, but felt it was a “natural progression” to recreate some of his most famous hits in the popular genre.

He said: “Over a period of time I realised that the songs that I was writing translated to country. As a songwriter I didn’t really start out thinking I was country, I was thinking I was R&B. It was just a natural progression. I am from Tuskegee, Alabama – I’m a country boy. It just felt right to do this.”

The album, which features a string of duets with top country music stars including Shania Twain, Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw, is named after the ‘Hello’ singer’s birthplace.

He added: “Growing up with country, R&B, gospel and classical music from my grandmother and pop, Tuskegee was the perfect melting pot for my influences as a writer, and the title, ‘Tuskegee’, is a validation of my growing up there – the place I call home.”

‘Tuskegee’ will be released next March.