Lionel Cole’s lifelong involvement with the music industry is characterized by innovation, passion, and diversity.
Lionel began his personal entertainment career as a child in Atlanta, and by the time he was in high school was co-hosting the award-winning syndicated ABC television show, TIME OUT, and working the summers as a computer programmer for U.S. Senator, Max Cleland. After performing in a world tour with the international cast of UP WITH PEOPLE, Lionel moved to Chicago.
He subsequently pursued formal music training at Northwestern University and paid the bills by working as a cable television producer, playing piano in a variety of Chicago venues, and writing copy for an ad firm. Somehow, he and a group of friends found time to establish the quirky Bedrock Corporation which achieved both regional and national success with commercial spots including Kraft’s “Cheezasorus Rex.”
After moving to Los Angeles, Lionel worked as a staff composer/music editor with award winning producer, Steve Tyrell, on several television projects including NBC’s CALIFORNIA DREAMS and the BRADY BUNCH MOVIE.. Lionel moved on to film composing for the highly acclaimed ONCE UPON A TIME…WHEN WE WERE COLORED. His film work evolved into a partnership with veteran television actor/director, Tim Reid, that produced independent feature
films like ASUNDER a New York times critics pick and the television series, LINC’S on Showtime, all with Lionel as music supervisor and composer. Lionel remixed the million-seller single “Hard to Say I’m Sorry,” by boy band, Az Yet, and became director of music for the only full service African-American film studio in America, New Millennium Studios in Virginia.
Later Lionel and Malcolm Jamal Warner partnered to form the jazz/funk band, Miles Long. The Miles Long album, THE MANY FACETS OF SUPERMAN featured En Vogue’s Cindy Heron and soul icon, Teena Marie. Lionel enjoyed his many roles on this project as lead singer, pianist, and producer. In addition he did a turn as a featured vocalist in John Powell’s score for THE BOURNE IDENTITY, a two year stint as band leader on the television series MALCOM & EDDIE and had a blast playing piano with Ivan Neville and his ensemble. He was featured as part of Robert Downey Jr.’s band on the Oprah show, the Tonight Show, Ellen, and Good Morning America.
Lionel’s work with singer Mariah Carey, included piano playing on her #1 single, “Never Too Far Hero” and co-writing three songs notably the heartfelt hit “Through the Rain” from her multi-platinum album CHARMBRACELET. One of Lionel’s proudest moments was arranging the Star Spangled Banner for Mariah and the Boston Pops at the 2002 Superbowl following 9/11. Lionel also was featured keyboarding and background singing for Mariah’s worldwide tour which played to sold-out audiences of people drawn to music they can feel. Music that inspires. For the last few years Lionel’s creativity has been focused in work with longtime writing partner Randy Jackson from the television powerhouse series American Idol. He worked on countless projects including the Grammy nominated Sam Moore (of Sam and Dave) album “Overnight Sensation” and the Grammy award winning remake “A Family Affair” with Van Hunt, John Legend, and Joss Stone. That work lead to collaboration on “Walk on By” with pop prodigy Joss Stone featured on “Randy Jacksons Music Club Volume 1.” The team also worked on the films produced by Walmart family pictures. 2010 brought a world tour with 1980‘s icon Rickie Lee Jones as her singer and multi-instrumentalist. This also landed Lionel in Sydney, Australia where he is currently a radio dj, artist manager/producer and entertainment consultant for venues and events. You can still catch Lionel working with his father in the family business from Poland to Manhattan spreading the virtues of the Great American Songbook and its heirs.
Born to a name synonymous with breaking down a variety of barriers, Lionel has carried on the family tradition and made inroads of his own. Uncle Nat obliterated the color line, cousin Natalie defines pop longevity, and Grammy-nominated father Freddy proves one is never too old to be an overnight success. Lionel has always figured it’s the music that does the work. It’s the music that changes hearts, opens minds and makes us feel. Lionel Cole believes in music that moves the listener to feel. He does whatever is conceivable to that end. For him that’s what music is about. This is what Lionel is about.