By Lindsy Weeks
For almost 10 years, Las Vegas born musician, Lionel Miranda, had the Instagram and Twitter handle @lionelrichiee. Although his handle had two “E’s” at the end, people online would still mistake Lionel as the legendary singer, Rock & Roll Hall-of-Famer, and American Idol judge, Lionel Richie. Lionel would get direct messages from strangers asking him to wish their significant others happy birthday, perform at their weddings, or even simply write back and say “Hello”. Lionel knew he’d eventually have to switch things up. “If anyone were to search my music online, Lionel Richie would pop up first”, he said. “That’s no way to get discovered”. Despite the flattering connection and roots to the decorated Grammy winner, Lionel decided to rebrand himself as Lio Rich. Very quickly, friends around him coined his current artist name, L-Rich.
L-Rich is a lifelong songwriter and drummer. Starting off having spent seven years in choir, he transformed into a multifaceted artist who now performs as a DJ and rapper. When American Idol Season 21 auditions came to Las Vegas and someone made a suggestion to try out, L-Rich did not hesitate. Lionel Richie, an American Idol judge since 2018, was making his return and L-Rich had to meet the man he was named after. A half-dozen pre-auditions with producers later, L-Rich would get the chance to perform in front of the judges! Lionel prepared to sing “All Night Long” and wrote an original rap, inspired by American Idol, shouting all of the star-judges and cast; Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and host, Ryan Seacrest. The judges ate it up! Katy Perry, born Katherine “Katy” Hudson, also experienced a rebrand growing up due to conflicts with famous actress Kate Hudson (Us Weekly, 2013).
Although L-Rich did not make it to the next round, part of his audition got aired on the live show along with some awesome interactions with the judges! Lionel and the Idol judges chat about the origin of his name which later morphed into the stage name L-Rich. Katy makes a joke saying that’s what they call Lionel Richie in the club, “Ayo, L-Rich"! Lionel pokes fun at L-Rich saying he thinks some of his checks have been going to the wrong house. After the audition, Lionel Richie came out from behind the judges stand to shake L-Rich’s hand, give him a hug and even invited him to come watch his Las Vegas residency show at the Wynn.
Beyond American Idol, L-Rich was featured on Jimmy Kimmel Live (Season 21, Episode 7) with guests Lionel Richie and Katy Perry, as one of the highlights of American Idol’s Season 21. L-Rich will also be featured on the Discovery Channel performing a DJ set later this year. He has opened for P-Lo at Daylight Beach Club in Mandalay Bay, A$AP Twelvyy (from A$AP Mob) at The Usual Place, and holds a club residency under his DJ alter-ego, Lio. Check him out every Friday at downtown’s newest, and most popular club, We All Scream.
Watch L-Rich on American Idol and Jimmy Kimmel on Hulu. L-Rich has a music video for his song "Proper" releasing Friday, March 10, 2023 on YouTube. Subscribe to his YouTube channel and learn more about L-Rich at www.lrichmusic.com.
Blog: Beyond The Art
Title: Clash of the Lionels, American Idol Season 21
Written By: Lindsy Weeks