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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Learning the artistry of a Smokey Robinson singer

Smokey Robinson in concert at the Chumash Casi...
Smokey Robinson singer lessons that every singer could take valuable nots from. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are a small collection of all times singing greats that you can choose to study and model. Today there are not many that can come close when it comes to learning the artistry of a Smokey Robinson singer.

Smokey has had an amazing career for well over 50 years and he still performs in top form to this day. It’s one thing to study how to become a famous singer and it’s another to study lessons on how to become a Smokey Robinson.

Sandy Mazza was wowed by his lessons recently.

Smokey Robinson singer lessons in pop

Smokey Robinson’s second-ever performance at the Hollywood Bowl proved at least one thing – that the soulful R&B and pop artist has stood the test of time.

Robinson, who is 72 and has been performing since 1956, didn’t just sing nearly 20 songs in a two-hour show Friday night. He told hilarious stories, gyrated and led the audience in what amounted to a lesson in pop artistry.

“I can’t even begin to tell you how beautiful it is to be playing at home at the Hollywood Bowl,” he told the crowd. “We came to have some fun. We came to have a good time. We came to be intimate, to get close, to feel. We came to boogie.”

Robinson’s opening act was the Los Angeles Philharmonic, led by conductor Sarah Hicks, who called the singer a “great American voice.” The orchestra also performed behind Robinson’s six-piece band for most of the night.

Robinson opened the evening with his 1956 hit with the Miracles, “Going to a Go-Go.”

He went on to play many of the hit songs he has written and recorded in the past five decades, beginning with “I Second That Emotion,” “You’ve Really Got a Hold On Me” and “Ooo Baby Baby.” Then he moved on to several songs he wrote for The Temptations: “The Way You Do The Things You Do” and “Get Ready.”

After singing “My Girl,” the Motown great seemed to just be getting warmed up.

“Everybody out there was singing that time,” Robinson said. “Oh yeah, that was beautiful.

Robinson sang and danced through songs he has performed hundreds – perhaps thousands – of times with passion, excitement and melodic “oohs” and “ahhs.”

Before launching into his hit “The Tears of a Clown,” Robinson told a story about “my man Stevie Wonder. I call him Steve,” he said.

“Stevie Wonder’s my brother. There should be a ‘ful’ on the end of his name. Stevie Wonderful.”

Wonder wrote the music for the song, which Robinson included in his 1967 album with The Miracles called “Make It Happen.” Wonder approached him with the music at a Motown Record Company Christmas party, Robinson told the crowd.

“He said: ‘Smoke, as the dawn breaks and the morning dew kisses all the people and the people will be free.’ That’s how Stevie says hi,” Robinson joked. “Then he said he had a track. I took it home and listened to it and this is what we came up with.”

Robinson sang only a few songs from recent albums: “Love Bath” and “Tu Me Besas Muy Rico.” His current work is markedly more sensual than his classic hits, and he illustrated that on stage by indulging in some slow hips rolls.

But Robinson finished the night with classics “Tracks of my Tears” and “Cruisin’,” during which he asked the audience to sing along.

Many in the crowd left humming “I love it when we’re cruisin’ together.”

At 72 and still performing in an even more soulful way. Smokey Robinson singer lessons may be tough to come by but well worth studying and learning from. Here’s an interview with Time magazine with a few insights into his approach to his craft. Get a pen and pad and make a few notes.

Click like and share if you think more artists could take a leaf out of Smokey’s work ethic.

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1 Comment

  • Sarah

    Smokey is just an awesome singer. His career is amazing and to see he’s still going strong after this long – he’s an inspiration.


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