R. Kelly Has Helped To Save The Home Of His High School Mentor After Staging A Special Benefit Concert To Boost Her Funds.
The I Believe I Can Fly star returned to his native Chicago, Illinois last week (14Oct15) to perform in Lena MCLin's honour after learning she was facing the prospect of losing her apartment.
Kelly even scheduled his tour dates around the show at the Chicago Theatre to make sure he could give back to the vocal coach he credits with inspiring him to pursue a music career.
"On the first day I met her, Ms. MCLin told me, 'You're going to be one of the greatest singers, songwriters and performers of all time,'" he recalls to the Chicago Sun-Times. "I thought the lady was crazy."
Despite his reservations, Kelly honed his musical skills under the guidance of the Chicago Public Schools teacher and he insists he owes her his entire career.
"Ms. MCLin reached down in me and pulled out something greater than me," he explains. "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."
The benefit show was all the more important foR Kelly as he had paid many visits to MCLin's pad during his days as a student.
"I cleaned that apartment so many times, just paying my dues, no different than I would clean my mum's house," he says. Growing emotional, he adds, "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... because nobody - 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."
MCLin has been fighting to stay in her apartment for months after developers announced plans to covert the building into brand new condominiums. The 87 year old had been unable to afford to buy the new unit on her teacher's pension, but thanks to Kelly's fundraiser and a public crowdsourcing campaign, she now has the money she needs to purchase the revamped pad.