Lionel Richie (born June 20, 1949), is an American singer-songwriter, musician, record producer and actor. From 1968, he was a member of the musical group Commodores signed to Motown Records. Richie made his solo debut in 1982 with the album Lionel Richie and number-one hit "Truly".
Born in Tuskegee, Alabama, Richie grew up on the campus of Tuskegee Institute. His grandfather's house was across the street from the home of the president of the college. His family moved to Joliet, Illinois, where he graduated from Joliet Township High School, East Campus. A star tennis player in Joliet, he accepted a tennis scholarship to attend Tuskegee Institute, and graduated with a major in economics. After receiving his undergraduate degree from Tuskegee, Richie briefly attended graduate school at Auburn University. He is a member of Kappa Kappa Psi and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
He is also related to British actor, Shane Richie.
As a student in Tuskegee, Richie formed a succession of R groups in the mid-1960s. In 1968 he became a singer and saxophonist with the Commodores.