New Times: What was it like being on The Voice recently?
Smokey Robinson: I've done shows like that many, many times. It was a great experience because Nicholas [David] requested me because he was going to sing "Cruisin'." I was very happy to do that. He's a very nice young man, and I love that show. I watch it all the time. I had a good time.
The winner is from West Palm. Did you meet her and the other singers? Did you have any impressions about them? Do you think any of them are going to be stars?
The wonderful thing about those shows, and it started with American Idol, the kids who make the show are seen my millions all over the country before the even make a record. So many of them have fans already. All the kids who make the top ten already have a fan base, so they all have a good shot of becoming well-known.
They're putting out Motown: The Musical. Are you familiar with the script?
Well, yeah. Berry Gordy's my best friend, so you know I was familiar when they first started doing it. I'm very happy that he is doing that. I think it should be done. He did a whole vignette expose of it a few months ago, my wife and went to that. It's going to be awesome. I think he's going to get some Tonys out of this.
Is there anything that wasn't included about Motown that should be included that wasn't?
Not that I can think of, no.
Do you have any Motown memories that you wish would be made into a movie?
This is the story of his life and I think it should be told. It's accurate. There's so many inaccurate ones. I think it's going to be wonderful, people are going to love it.
Do you go back to Detroit often?
I still have some relatives there, and a few friends. I get back at least once or twice maybe a year. At least once every two or three years, I perform there.
Detroit has obviously changed a lot, but particularly, it was hit hard economically in the past years. Do you have any feelings on that?
I think they're doing a turnaround now. The city is being revitalized. The auto plants are back, and I hope it turns around.
Are you still songwriting for other artists?
I write all the time. At this point, in the last couple of years, I haven't done any writing for other artists because I've just been so busy with my own schedule.
What's your favorite thing about songwriting, as opposed to performing?
The fact that it's a blessing. And it's creativity, and I'm blessed to have it.
Are there any new artists that you wish you could write songs for or perform with?
I would love to do both with all the new artists. [laughs] I'm not prejudiced on that whatsoever. Why would I be, you've got a lot of great new artists out there, and great new songs out there.
What do you think about new trends in music? R&B seems to be coming back with a bunch of new singers...
Did it ever leave?