”I Was Just a Kid Who Loved Music”

Smokey Robinson keynotes SXSW music fest

Legendary singer/songwriter Smokey Robinson was the featured keynote speaker at Day Two of the South by Southwest music festival.

More than 300 music fans packed the standing-room only interview, conducted by music editor and longtime Robinson friend Dave Marsh.  Marsh is editor and publisher of Rock and Pop Confidential.

Robinson said he fell in love with music the first time he heard it, including favorite Frankie Lymon. After writing his first song at the age of 5 for a school play, he knew music was in his future.

"I was just a kid who loved music and always have and that was my dream since I was 6 or 7," said Robinson, a Detroit native. "I really wanted to be in show business. I didn't think that would ever be possible where I grew up."

At the age of 16, Smokey met legendary Motown producer Barry Gordy. At the time, Smokey and his group, The Matadors, auditioned for several talent scouts, including Gordy. The scouts didn't like the group, but Gordy loved Robinson's songwriting.

"I was very blessed, because I met a guy like Berry Gordy. There aren't too many men, as far as I'm concerned, like him - because he was my mentor," says Robinson.

Robinson says Gordy taught him how to write music that made sense and that told a story. He's been able to do that now for the last 50 years - even with all the new younger talent in the music business.

Robinson now says his challenge is continuing to write music that is creative and longlasting.

"There are no new ideas in the world and there are no new words, in the last 100 years. So as a songwriter, I have to figure out a way to say it differently. Like 'I love you.' I have to find a different way to say it."

Robinson released his most recent album, "Time Flies When Youre Having Fun" last August.

This article appears courtesy of KXAN.com.

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