New York-based Denise Rich is one of America's` most successful and respected tunesmiths, with a singularly impressive song catalog that includes numerous hits in a variety of styles and genres. She's also taken a decidedly unusual route to a successful musical career.
The bubbly Rich first came to prominence as a Manhattan socialite and wife of a billionaire commodities trader. She took up songwriting at around the same time, originally as a method of addressing her troubled marriage. But by 1986 - when one of her first compositions, "Frankie," became a number one R&B hit for Sister Sledge - Rich was pursuing her music in earnest, with decidedly rewarding results.
Since then, Rich has emerged as one of pop's most in-demand songwriters, her compositions having been recorded by Aretha Franklin and Mary J. Blige (their hit duet "Don't Waste Your Time"), Celine Dion, Marc Anthony, Patti LaBelle, Mandy Moore, Diana Ross, Donna Summer, Innosense, Allure, Terry Dexter, Taylor Dayne, Johnny Mathis, Oleta Adams, Phyllis Hyman, Chaka Khan, Martha Wash, Nana Mouskouri and Grover Washington Jr.
"I have always found that the best success is when you write for the artist," Rich says. "That way you can talk with them and find out how they want to say it. It's more honest."
Despite her songwriting success, Rich is equally well-known in Manhattan social circles for her lavish, star-studded fundraising soirees, which have benefited humanitarian organizations like Lifebeat, as well as the Democratic National Committee. But Rich's most personal cause is her own G&P Foundation for Cancer Research, which she founded in 1996 in honor of her daughter Gabrielle, who died of leukemia that year at the age of 27.
But her songwriting remains Denise Rich's most personal passion. "I think that I bring a very universal quality in my songs," she says, "because I listen and I write from feelings and emotions."