Cinema Dave meets Smokey

Posted on 23 March 2018 by JLusk

As a prodigal Roman Catholic, I avoid eating meat during Lenten Fridays, which was appropriate when meeting legendary soul singer Smokey Robinson last Friday, March 16, at a special event held in Miami. Best known for his “oldies” hits like “The Tears of a Clown,” “The Tracks of My Tears” and “Going to a Go Go,” Smokey was in town to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at Jazz in the Gardens, sharing the stage with Chaka Khan and Anita Baker, but also stopped at a special event that showcased his wine label, “Smokey Robinson Wines.”

Learning that Smokey has been a vegan for two and a half years, I asked him what I should eat with with his wines, to which he said, “People like the reds and the whites with meat and fish, but I would have a salad.”

Gouda cheese was provided for the wine sampling, for which the Riesling was fully  complimentary.  However, it was the Cabernet Sauvignon that made me long for Mom’s macaroni sauce or the eggplant parmigiana meal from Nick’s [in Deerfield Beach].

His looks, energy and vitality belie the fact that Smokey Robinson is 78 years old. Besides his Smokey Robinson Vineyards, the man still performs a two and a half hour show with a North American Tour planned through August. His timeless music has generated an audience both youth and old. When asked about his “Timeless” appeal, Smokey modestly answered, “It is a blessing, man, living a life doing what I love.”

As both a Motown singer and songwriter, the secret about Smokey’s music is inclusion that surpasses generations.  A Smokey Robinson concert is a family event that grandparents, parents and children can attend and have a good time together.

There is something “old school” about Smokey that is endearing. At the press junket, my colleagues took pictures and recorded interviews with their cell phones. As I prepared my equipment, I mentioned to Smokey that I missed my old tape recorder.  Smokey replied back with a teachable moment, “Tape is reliable. I wish I could get into the Motown vault.  I’ve got so much unreleased stuff in there by artists that I recorded or myself. I wish I could get in there!”

Even though Motown is under new ownership, I can see Smokey finding a way to get into the vault. All he  needs to bring to the front desk is some gouda cheese, macaroni sauce with a bottle of Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon, respectively!

Photos by Cendino Teme.

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