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Desmond Child talks about his book ‘Livin’ On A Prayer: Big Songs Big Life’

Desmond Child chatted about his new book “Livin’ On A Prayer: Big Songs Big Life.”

Desmond Child
Desmond Child. Photo Credit: Gene Reed
Desmond Child. Photo Credit: Gene Reed

Desmond Child chatted about his new book “Livin’ On A Prayer: Big Songs Big Life.”

He discussed being a musician in the digital age, and shared his future plans.

Byron Pulsifer once said: “Imagine, dream, and believe in yourself. With determination and belief, you will be surprised at what you accomplish.” This quote applies to Desmond Child.

Background on Desmond Child

A Grammy-winning and Emmy-nominated songwriter, Desmond Child is a film, TV, theater and music producer, recording artist, performer, and author.

His credits appear on more than 80 Billboard Top 40 singles spanning six decades, including “Livin’ On A Prayer,” “You Give Love A Bad Name,” “I Was Made For Lovin’ You,” “Dude Looks Like A Lady,” “I Hate Myself For Loving You,” “Livin’ La Vida Loca,” “The Cup Of Life,” “Waking Up In Vegas,” and “Kings & Queens,” among many others.

His songs have been recorded by such diverse musical acts as Aerosmith, Zedd, KISS, Bon Jovi, Cher, Barbra Streisand, Ricky Martin, Alice Cooper, Joan Jett, Michael Bolton, Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Garth Brooks, Cyndi Lauper, Christina Aguilera, and Ava Max, among others.

His compositions have sold over 500 million records worldwide with downloads, viewers and streams in the billions.

‘Livin’ On A Prayer: Big Songs Big Life’ book

On writing this book, he said, “It was a very difficult journey. It took me seven years to do it. I call it my seven year jailhouse confession. It was very cathartic, it showed me all the wrong turns I made, that’s for sure. That is humbling.”

“I hope people get a feeling of ‘me’ as a person with this book, and how I came from nothing… being poor, Latino, and gay. I broke through a lot of barriers. If you want something bad enough, you can make it happen. All you have to do is think it and keep following in that direction,” he elaborated.

“The main thing about my book is not giving up,” he added.

The digital age

On being a songwriter and producer in the digital age, he said, “The digital age has become the way of the world now. It is so easy to manipulate reality with filters.”

For young and aspiring songwriters, he said, “It all depends on the genre of music they are in. If one is into country music, they should move to Nashville and become a part of that community. If they are into hip-hop and urban, it’s in Los Angels and Atlanta. If they are into Broadway, they should go to New York.”

“Pop music is all very much so in Los Angeles, especially the whole Swedish invasion there. The communities of people who are making music are very regional,” he added.

Broadway show in the works

At the moment, he is completing his own Broadway show, which he has been working on since 2005. “That has been 18 years in the process,” he said. “It’s the true story of my family before and after the aftermath of the Cuban revolution. It is very historic, glamorous, sexy, and it has got everything going for it.”

Other projects and skincare line

“I have other shows up my sleeve that I am working on,” he admitted. “I am waiting for the right moment. Some friends also made a skincare line for me called ‘Vida Loca Skin Life.’ It is all natural ingredients, and our slogan is that skin has no gender.”

Songwriters Hall of Fame induction

Desmond Child was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2008, and serves on its Board of Directors as well as the Board of ASCAP. ” I was nominated twice before for the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and I didn’t make it past the nomination list,” he said.

“Finally, my day arrived and I was proud that I was able to have my mother there because she meant so much to me. My mother was a songwriter herself and a poet, it was her dream to be successful in songwriting, and I was able to fulfill her dream, and she was able to be a part of it,” he elaborated.

In 2018, he received ASCAP’s Founders Award celebrating 40 years as a member of ASCAP. In 2012, he also co-founded the Latin Songwriters Hall Of Fame where he serves as Chairman Emeritus.

Desmond Child speaks about Diane Warren

He had kind words about Diane Warren, a fellow Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee. “Diane Warren is my best friend,” he said. “Diane is just the funniest, loving, and a great person,” he said. “Diane works so hard, she has accomplished so much, and I am very proud of my friend.”

“I tell some funny stories about Diane in my book,” he admitted.

Stage of his life

On the title of the current chapter of his life, he said, “The Hustle.” “I just turned 70 years old and every day is like a diamond, I need to be very precious with it. We are working on a documentary on my life and my career, and eventually that could become a movie and a musical. A lot of things can happen if we hook up with the right creative team,” he explained.

‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’

 In 2022, he was inducted into the Latin Songwriters Hall Of Fame and “Livin’ La Vida Loca” was inducted into the National Archives of the Library of Congress for its cultural significance to America.

On his Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame induction, he said, “It was about time! I helped to co-found it 12 years ago with Rudy Pérez.”

‘Livin’ On A Prayer’

“Livin’ On A Prayer” was the song from his musical catalog that he claimed as his favorite because it has helped move people on an emotional and spiritual level. “This song means so much to so many people,” he admitted. “We’ve gotten so many e-mails and letters from people that say that this song got them through many hard times.”

In 2023, “Livin’ On A Prayer” achieved a major digital milestone, reaching one billion streams on Spotify.

Dream collaboration choices in music

Desmond Child listed such artists as Adele, Sam Smith, Dua Lipa, Jared Leto, and Troye Sivan as his dream collaboration choices in music. “I would love to work with Ariana Grande again, I worked with her early on in her career,” he said.

Favorite motto to live

On his favorite motto to live by, he revealed, “Live and help live.” “That’s my favorite motto now. Always remember there is only now, no matter what is torturing you or what you are afraid of going forward. It is always now until you get there,” he said.


On his definition of the word success, he said, “Just being successful means nothing if you don’t have somebody to share it with. I have my husband and my beautiful sons, and a family of choice with the most beautiful friends.”

“We enjoy each other’s company and our sons are in their final year in college. It is exciting to see them become their own people,” he added.

The birth certificate may say John Charles Barrett, but in many ways, Desmond Child is one of a kind

His autobiography, “Livin’ On A Prayer: Big Songs Big Life,” is available on Amazon by clicking here.

To learn more about Desmond Child, check out his official website, and follow him on Instagram.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 20,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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