In a new interview with The Metal Mixtape, Richie Kotzen was asked if his expectations for the music business when he launched his career more than three decades ago turned out to be correct. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I didn't have expectations about the business. When I was young, I thought that if you worked hard and you had something to say as an artist, you would be successful. I thought if you worked hard, had your own voice and something to say as an artist, you'd be successful. And then, for the very first part of the career I had, it rang true. And then, somewhere along the line, I got woken up to the reality that the music business has nothing to do with artistic integrity and working hard and seeing results. There's some real crazy variables involved when you get into the world of the music business."
He continued: "The thing that I can say is that I found a way to survive as an artist without having to necessarily be in the music business. When I think of the music business, I don't think of Richie Kotzen; I don't think that I'm necessarily in the music business. I think that I am a recording artist that puts out original music and that has developed a base of people that are interested in what I do, and I'm grateful and thankful for it. But that doesn't have anything to do with business for me; it has to do with being true to what it is that I'm about and being lucky enough to have a platform where I can create my songs and have them be released. But I don't consider myself in the music business, 'cause that's a whole other thing."
Kotzen is currently promoting the debut album from his collaborative project with IRON MAIDEN's Adrian Smith. Recorded on the Turks & Caicos Islands in February 2020, produced by Richie and Adrian and mixed by Kevin "Caveman" Shirley, SMITH/KOTZEN's nine-track opus is a consummate collaboration between these two highly respected musicians who co-wrote all the songs and also share lead vocals and trade off on guitar and bass duties throughout the record.
In February 2020, Kotzen released his 22nd solo album, "50 For 50", via his own custom label, Headroom-Inc. The three-disc collection is just what the title implies: a collection of 50 previously unreleased compositions produced, performed and written by Kotzen in honor of his birthday. It's the follow-up to his critically acclaimed "Salting Earth" album, which came out in April 2017 via Headroom-Inc.