Happy Birthday Lionel Richie: Celebrating the Iconic Singer and ‘American Idol’ Judge on His 72nd

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

Happy birthday, Lionel Richie! The iconic singer and American Idol judge is celebrating his 72nd trip around the sun on Sunday (June 20th).

Along with his birthday, Lionel Richie took to his Instagram account to wish his father a Happy Father’s Day. “Honoring Lionel Richie Sr. Today! Happy Father’s Day to the man who taught me so much about life, showed me how to give love and the original #PoppaLionelHug,” Lionel posts with a picture of his father.

Among those to respond to the post was Lionel Richie’s daughter, Sofia. She comments, “Love you!” 

Lionel Richie Road to Becoming an Iconic Singer

Lionel Richie was born in 1949 and was raised in Tuskegee, Alabama. While in college, he became a founding member of the hit R&B band the Commodores. Richie wrote some of the band’s biggest hits, which includes “Easy” as well as “Three Times a Lady.” He also co-wrote the famous funk anthem “Brick House.” He later went on to become a solo artist and found success with his No. 1 hit single, “Truly.” He also co-wrote “We Are the World” with Michael Jackson. 

Lionel Richie has a total of ten studio albums, four live albums, seven compilation albums, and 42 singles. In 2017, Lionel was announced as a judge of the revived singing competition TV series American Idol. The show originally ran from June 2002 to April 2016 before returning to TV in March 2018. Richie currently judges alongside country superstar Luke Bryan and pop songstress Katy Perry.

Lionel Richie also has shared the tough advice he gave his daughter Sofia when she first expressed interest in following his singing career footsteps. “I told her, ‘I wish you lots of failure, young,’” he admits to People. “We in a business where it’s how you recover and ‘yes, yes, yes’ does not feel terrible, so you have to get smacked in the face. I said, ‘You’re going to have a bit more of a different time because you’re coming from a family where they expect a little bit more.’”

Along with Sofia, Lionel Richie has daughter Nicole and son Miles Brockman Richie.

Lionel Richie Recently Reveals He Was Interested in Becoming a Priest Before Singing Career

Lionel Richie recently sat down with Naomi Campbell to discuss judging American Idol while also sharing other careers he was interested in when he was younger. During the interview, Richie reveals he was interested in becoming a priest before he became a singing sensation. “I left my mom and dad’s house to go to Tuskegee University and I met my Commodore friends there,” Richie explains. “At the time, I was seriously considering being an Episcopal priest. The first time I played with the Commodores, a group of girls screamed. Up until that moment, no one, no girl, had ever screamed for me.”

Richie went on to add, “It was right after those girls screamed, I remember saying to myself, ‘I don’t think I’m gonna be priest material.’”