Musician reaches out to youth to hone talents

Parkwood musician Lionel Smith has been in the music industry almost all his life and now wants to start a gospel group.

Mr Smith is focusing on keeping children off the streets while enhancing their talents and he is inviting 120 youth from Parkwood, Lotus River and Lavender Hill and surrounds to join him after school.

He will teach them how to sing and work towards a performance or show on Sunday March 11, at the netball court in Blackbird Avenue, in Parkwood.

Mr Smith said he will help them practice two songs called I know who I am and I can change. He is also planning to make a music video and provide each youth with a copy.

Mr Smith said his message to the youth is that no matter what challenges they are facing, if they think positive, there can be change. “I also invite musicians and singers who want to be a part of this initiative to join.”

Mr Smith’s passion for singing goes way back to when he grew up in Athlone. “Taliep Petersen was my hero and my brothers and I formed a group called the Smiths Brothers.

“We sang, did cabaret shows and variety shows as well.”

He became a solo artist after being introduced to gospel music.

“My first gig as a solo artist was at Victoria Hotel in Grassy Park singing Sole Sole Sole.”

In the 70s Michael Jackson was his role model and Mr Smith maintains that when you perform, you have to know some dance moves as well. “You can’t just stand on stage like a robot.”

Mr Smith said he writes his own songs and has recorded some of them.

“My producer is Damian Roman who has worked with David Kramer.”

Mr Smith said he has performed at many churches and functions.

Mr Smith moved to Parkwood 20 years ago. “I have my own logo, that will be on my album You lift me up.

If anyone wants to join the singing choir, contact Mr Smith on 078 964 9257 or Mr Roman on email

* Every first Sunday of the month there is an open mic at the Upper Hall Pentecostal Church, in Sonata Street, Steenberg. It is a platform where local talent can take the stage. Singers, dancers, band, etc are welcome. The event starts at 5.30pm but arrive early to give in your names.