I’m not a chronic TV-watcher, but am not (too) embarrassed to admit I simply can’t miss a nanosecond of X Factor or American Idol. I was a pianist, singer and actress earlier in life, and I connect emotionally with the winning contestants. Yes, I wish I could go back and be them. Unlike them, however, auditioning was paralyzing for me. They perform without nerves getting the best of their chances.
Last night, I was captivated by X Factor’s selection of the Top 17, with baby boomer Leroy Bell, age 60 of Seattle, Wash.—he recently celebrated his birthday and what a present he got!Bell shone quietly in the “Over-30s” group mentored by Nicole Scherzinger, but with such a strong contingent of possible choices, the elimination was a real nail-biter.
Nicole said earlier in the show that “Over 30s is a special category. These people are ready and seasoned. They’ve been working for it their whole lives and they want this more than anything. For most of them, they are feeling like it’s their last chance.”
Here’s what you might not know about former postal worker Bell, who’s no newbie to music. He…
- performed with or opened for B.B. King, Etta James, Al Green, Paolo Nutini, India.Arie, Erykah Badu, LeAnne Rimes, Michael McDonald, Idina Menzel, Colin Hay, Mavis Staples,KebMo, Taj Mahal, Leon Russell, Los Lobos, Sheryl Crow.
- comes from a family of musicians and writers. He teamed with Casey James and created music recorded by The Spinners, The O’Jays, The Temptations, Rita Marley and Elton John—the latter flamboyant star received a Grammy nomination for one of Bell’s songs in 1979, the same year that Bell and partner Casey James sold a million copies of “Livin’ It Up (on Friday Night).”
- performs now with “Leroy Bell and His Only Friends.”
You Can Still
More than what he sings, I’ve been captivated by what he says, especially about re-invention, something he and I—and no doubt you as a fellow boomer—know a lot about.
Take his quote: “One of the things I’ve learned is you can teach an old dog new tricks. I can still learn something. The show has taught me that I am more flexible than I thought I was.”
It’s not too late, even when we boomers think, “I can’t do that. My (best) time has passed.” Another great chapter can begin, which like Leroy Bell’s adventures on X Factor, can spur learning of new skills, techniques and ways of not just coping, but thriving.
Smoothly Over the Bumps
Like Bell, I’ll bet you have goals and objectives you wish you’d achieved earlier, but why not now? He has said about this experience: “It’s going to be a new bump in the road. When most people are retiring, I’m shooting off into a new adventure!” If he can, so can you.
Check your local listings for the X Factor, as times lately have been changing. Let’s cheer, and vote, Bell on to victory!