Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Lionel Richie's backup career plan

Published 15/04/2016

Lionel Richie
Lionel Richie

Lionel Richie once took Nelson Mandela shopping.

Lionel Richie’s backup career plan was to be an interior designer.

The legendary singer first made a name for himself with soul group the Commodores in the late '60s, before branching out on his own with a successful solo career.

However if music hadn’t worked out for him, 66-year-old Lionel would have indulged his creative side to make a living.

“If I didn’t spend my career singing, I would have been a landscape architect or interior designer,” he told Us Weekly magazine as part of its 25 Things You Don’t Know About Me feature. “I’m addicted to design magazines. And I’m a collector of fireplaces.”

The alternative vocation was never a real possibility though, as Lionel quit his college education to pursue his ambitions of becoming a singer. But his father, Lionel Richie Sr., took some convincing.

“I joined the Commodores while I was in college. I told my dad I would drop out of school to join a band that would become ’the black Beatles’,” he laughed.

He also toyed with the idea of becoming an Episcopal preacher when he was youngster. However, he went with music, and his life as one of the world’s biggest stars has afforded him many luxuries - including a string of famous friends and fans.

“I took Nelson Mandela shopping in 1990. It was an incredible moment,” he recalled. “(And soccer player) Lionel Messi, 28, was named after me.”

The Dancing on the Ceiling singer opened up about his family, including that daughter Nicole Richie calls him L-Train and his grandchildren refer to him as Pop Pop.

He also shared where his musical talent was inherited from: “My grandmother was a classical pianist in the middle of the civil rights movement.”

© Cover Media

Online Editors

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph