He is one of the most iconic singers and songwriters of all time, but now that Smokey Robinson has had quite the life and career, he knows exactly what he would tell his younger self.

“Slow down, be cool and wait because it’s gonna happen (laughs), and you can’t rush it and you don’t want to rush it because you want it to last for as long as you can,” the 79-year-old exclusively tells Closer Weekly while attending the Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party.

The legendary entertainer is one of the most notable figures — along with Berry Gordy — of Motown music. The duo have also been quite the team, delivering hit after hit for almost 60 years. “In life, great relationships bring happiness, and happiness is the greatest thing in the world,” Berry, 90, previously told Closer in another exclusive interview while promoting the documentary Hitsville: The Making of Motown. “It’s about the relationship between Smokey Robinson and me.”

Smokey Robinson
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“It’s been 60 years and we’re still here,” Smokey chimed in. “Kids that haven’t even been born yet are going to know about it.” Smokey and company have of course have had a major impact on fellow musicians, including Lionel Richie.

I had the best mentors ever because they were right down the hall,” the “All Night Long” singer, 70, told Closer and other reporters at the American Idol premiere press event earlier this week. “There’s Marvin Gaye and there’s Stevie Wonder and there’s Berry Gordy and then you’ve got your you guys outside. I mean there’s Bob Marley down the hall.”

“We all started at the same time and so it was an interesting class,” Lionel continued. “When we walked in, they had the best songwriters in the business. That’s Smokey Robinson. I mean, give me a break. So when you got ready to write a song and you had a problem, they just kind of walk in and go, ‘little brother, that’s not right. You need …’ And I love that word, ‘little brother.’ Because back then I was the kid. … But then you grew into Hollywood.”

Smokey Robinson Lionel Richie

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