LOS ANGELES – Singer Lionel Richie said he thought of becoming a priest in his younger days.

Speaking to People magazine, Richie, 69, said he changed tack after an early performance with his pals in funk-soul band Commodores got him attention.

“A group of girls screamed. Up until that moment, no one, no girl had ever screamed at me,” he noted.

“I didn’t play basketball, football, baseball. I played on the tennis team, and no girl ever screamed at the tennis court. It was right after those girls screamed, I remember saying to myself: ‘I don’t think I’m gonna be priest material.'”

“I realised I could write songs and I could sing,” said Richie who would later quit the group to carve out a successful solo career, with hits like Hello and All Night Long.

But fame did not sit well with him.

“Chaos at home, chaos in the career, chaos with my friends. I did something that most people don’t do; I bailed out,” said Richie who cut down on his recording and performance schedules.

The singer, who is now a judge on reality show American Idol, has announced an upcoming new album, Live From Las Vegas, and a Hello Tour.

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