Photo by Randee St. NicholasR. Kelly did a good deed for his high school music teacher and vocal coach Lena McLin, who was in the process of losing her longtime apartment.
In an interview with Chicago Sun -Times, the singer revealed that he recently played a benefit concert to raise funds to help the 87-year-old retired teacher keep her Chicago home, which is being converted into condos that she can’t afford on her teacher’s pension.
“I cleaned that apartment so many times, just paying my dues, no different than I would clean my mom’s house,” Kelly says. “I would carry her book bags from school to the car, get in the car and make sure she got home. I wanted to hang with Ms. McLin, because nobody could do what she did for me. Nobody was even interested in doing what she did for me.”
“Nobody. Even to this day. Nobody has my interest like she does,” he says of McLin, who also trained Chaka Khan, Jennifer Hudson, Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston.
Kelly adds that he owes much of his musical abilities to McLin. “[She] reached down in me and pulled out something greater than me,” Kelly says. “She taught me opera, classical music, jazz, gospel. She said, ‘You are music. You’re not in any one category. Anything you attempt, you’ll be able to tap into the spirit of it, and that’s the gift you have.’ She made me.”
Kelly said that after his benefit and a GoFundMe campaign in her honor, McLin can now buy her condo.
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