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Lionel Richie reveals the other careers he would have said “Hello” to if music hadn’t worked out

ABC/Eric McCandless

Lionel Richie is lucky enough to have one main career and two or three side hustles: Not only is he a legendary pop star, he’s also an American Idol judge who’s got his own line of perfumes and home decor, as well as his own flavor of ice cream. But you may be surprised by what he thinks he’d be doing right now if the whole music thing hadn’t worked out.


“I’d have a gardening service that you would not believe,” Lionel tells Marie Claire magazine. Describing himself as “scissor hands,” the singer says, “I build lots of hedges around my property because I know I can cut, make noise, and just make a mess. I go into my yard in the afternoon and come out completely filthy.”

“I would either be a horticulturalist or an architect,” he continues. “I love buildings and structures. When I’m in Europe and outside of America, I kind of relate to how the architecture fits into the modern day world that we’re living in now.”

As for why he didn’t pursue architecture from the start, Lionel admits, “I knew I wasn’t going to be a great architect because there was one part of the class that you take, it’s called stress. You do the math to figure out how far you can make the stress happen on your structure.”

“Well, my math, at that particular time, did not go along with my design. So everything I had fell to the ground. So I said, ‘Well, maybe architecture won’t be my career.'”

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