Host of the Rhythm and Soul Patrol Radio Show, Lindsey Renee working the sound board in her studio on August 24, 2023. (Photo by Quinn Banks)

Mike Delisca lives in the Bahamas, but every day, the 29-year-old tunes in for the “Rhythm and Soul Patrol Show” on metro Detroit’s WPON-AM (1460) to hear songs by Al Green, Aretha Franklin and Willie Hutch – all of which predate him by decades. 

What attracts him to the show is the in-depth knowledge of the music possessed by the host, who is even younger than he is. 

Lindsey Renee Sims, 21, better known on-air as “Lindsey Renee,” doesn’t just play a record like “Where Did Our Love Go” by The Supremes; she provides listeners with backstories and little-known or forgotten nuggets about the song – like that the 1964 hit was written by Holland Dozier Holland and The Four Tops provided background vocals. She often gives socio-political context to the records, too.

“To have someone so young with such in-depth knowledge of the music is incredible,” Delisca said. “The ‘Rhythm and Soul Patrol Show’ is the best hidden secret in the world.”

Lindsey Renee Sims, host of the Rhythm and Soul Patrol Radio Show, combs through the collection at Solo Records on Woodward in Royal Oak on August 24, 2023. (Photo by Quinn Banks)

But the show – and Lindsey Renee for that matter – are no secret. Since she launched the show in December 2021, she has amassed listeners from across the world, including countries like Brazil, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. To date, the “Rhythm and Soul Patrol Show” Instagram page has more than 200,000 followers and about 2 million monthly page views. 

Lindsey Renee has found mentorship in music legends like Smokey Robinson, War’s frontman Lonnie Jordan, New York radio host Lenny Green, and music journalist and Detroit native Ed Gordon. She has met El Debarge and hip-hop artists like LL Cool J and Snoop Dogg. 

Lindsey Renee Sims with Motown legend Smokey Robinson (Courtesy photo)

This has been a big – and quick – change for Lindsey Renee who, just two years ago, was working at a restaurant, unsure of what she wanted to do with her life. Even with her growing popularity, she maintains that it’s all about the music and the artists.  

“These were our heroes,” Lindsey Renee said. “I put on Curtis Mayfield, and he’s telling me to “Keep on pushing.’”

That type of social messaging is what attracted her to oldies soul music as a kid growing up in the 2000s and 2010s. It isn’t lost on her that more than 60 percent of her Instagram audience – or “soul patrollers,” as she calls them – are younger than 44, with the largest chunk comprising those between 25 and 34. Attracting younger listeners is part of her mission to use the music as instruction to teach people how to “love and respect,” two things she says are absent in today’s mainstream music.  

“I want a man to not have to buy a woman,” Lindsey Renee said. “I want him to be able to speak to her and move her mind, and that’s how you captivate her.”

To get a deeper understanding of the mission and Lindsey Renee’s love and knowledge of oldies music, one would have to go back to 1960s’Arkansas and meet the man who is to Lindsey Renee what Richard Williams is to Venus and Serena Williams.

‘King Lardell’ and a daughter’s love for music

The “Rhythm and Soul Patrol Show” is the mashup of two minds: a baby boomer father who passes down his knowledge and history of the music to his child, and a Gen Z daughter with entrepreneurial instincts who knows how to use social media as a marketing tool.

Lardell Sims, 63, grew up in Arkansas and experienced the oldies that now air on his daughter’s show as they played on the radio for the first time. 

“My father was a music man, and we were one of the first families on my block with a record player,” Lardell Sims said. “And the music we were listening to back then were socially conscious songs.” 

Lindsey Renee Sims, host of the Rhythm and Soul Patrol Radio Show, talks with her father, Lardell Sims, during the Thursday morning “Parent Patrol” segment of her program on August 24, 2023. (Photo by Quinn Banks)

R&B and Soul music played a pivotal role in the civil rights movement. The Martha and The Vandellas 1964 hit “Dancing in the Street” became the unofficial anthem for social demonstrations across the nation. That same year, Congress ended segregation, passing The Civil Rights Act of 1964, which “outlawed discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.” James Brown’s iconic hit “Say it Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud” dropped in the summer of ’68, just months after the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“My dad used to always talk to us about how these songs connected to what was going on socially,” he said. “As I grew up, I realized I liked the way he did that, and I wanted to do that for my children as well.”  

Lardell Sims began collecting Vinyl records. He moved to Detroit around ’79. Years later, he met and married Lisa Fellows and together they raised seven children. When Lindsey Renee was a toddler, the family moved to Memphis and the Sims family opened a health foods store, which became the after-school hangout spot for the children. At that point, Lardell Sims owned about 3,000 vinyl records and serenaded his customers and his children with oldies R&B and Soul.

“My dad would always have his records playing in the store,” Lindsey Renee said. “He played the records at home. Saturday was clean-up day, so the music was going then. Then there were the car rides, we only listened to oldies.”

If it wasn’t the empowering social messages that appealed to her, it was the tender and romantic messages that hooked her. Her father would put on a song like “My Girl” by The Temptations and tell his daughters, “See, now that’s how a man is supposed to treat you.”

The Sims took pride in being “old-fashioned” parents who upheld the strong family values of “love and respect.” Lindsey Renee and her siblings didn’t own cellphones when most of their friends did, their computer and TV usage was limited, and they ate home-cooked meals together at the dinner table and watched shows like “Little House on the Prairie” in the living room as a family. Lardell Sims bought his children a boombox and made them custom CDs filled with oldies.

Lindsey Renee Sims scans the cassette tapes on a wall at Solo Records on Woodward in Royal Oak on August 24, 2023. (Photo by Quinn Banks)

The Sims family returned to Detroit around 2014 when Lindsey Renee was entering seventh grade. Her friends had iPods, but Lindsey Renee carried the portable CD player her father bought her, jamming to his custom-made CDs. When she was 16, Lardell Sims gifted Lindsey Renee a record player and her older sister Sydney began driving her to record stores across metro Detroit. Her first purchases were the compilation album “The Portrait of Sam Cooke,” Lenny Williams’ “Choosing You,” and “To Be Continued” by The Temptations.

A passion that couldn’t be ignored

Also at 16, Lindsey Renee began working at J. Alexander’s restaurant and climbed the ranks fast in the hospitality industry. By 19, she was a manager. She enjoyed the work, but felt unfulfilled. And, her love for oldies had not faded. Weekly trips to the record store were still essential, and watching music documentaries with her father were guilty pleasures. 

“I always knew with listening to this music and who I was, like how I was raised, I knew something was just missing in my life,” she said.

Her mother sensed her daughter’s unfulfillment.

Lisa Sims joins her husband, Lardell Sims, on the oldies-focused radio show that the couple’s 21-year-old daughter hosts. (Photo by Quinn Banks)

“Lindsey didn’t know what she really wanted to do after high school,” Lisa Sims said. “She’s always been a leader. Our children are creative and very entrepreneurial, so we always knew Lindsey would end up having to do something for herself.”  

During the summer of 2021, Lindsey Renee and her parents were watching an episode of the TV One music documentary series “Unsung.” It featured music historian and Detroiter David Washington who hosts the “20 Grand Revue Show,” another oldies format airing on WPON-AM (1460). For two months, the Sims urged their daughter to reach out to Washington to explore a career in radio.

“They kept on saying, ‘Lindsey, reach out, reach out,’” she recalled. “I always loved the music, but I never cared about the radio. Plus, I was working a job.”

Then, motivated by a bad day at work, she sent Washington a message on Facebook.

“A 19-year-old talking about she’s interested in oldies music – I thought it was a hoax,” Washington said.

Lindsey Renee Sims, host of the Rhythm and Soul Patrol Radio Show, works the soundboard in her studio on August 24, 2023. (Photo by Quinn Banks)

The two hopped on a call and Lindsey Renee impressed Washington with her knowledge of the genre. Washington has worked in the industry for more than 50 years. He started off as a concert and record promoter in the 70s, working with David Ruffin, Carla Thomas, Johnnie Taylor, Curtis Mayfield, and others before transitioning to a radio career in 2000. In all those years, he never met anyone like Lindsey Renee. 

“In fact, I’m still waiting to see her birth certificate,” Washington said. “I think she’s really about 45 years old.”

Washington invited Lindsey Renee and her father to lunch and later to sit in on a broadcast of his radio show. He asked Lindsey Renee to introduce herself to the audience. 

“I don’t think I was necessarily ready, but I wasn’t nervous,” she said. 

From there, Lindsey Renee and Lardell Sims were on the show every Monday, and Washington increasingly gave her more airtime to discuss and play records, and take calls from listeners. Around that time, one of Washington’s co-host died, so Lindsey Renee helped fill the void and soon became a permanent co-host.

“It was a very tough time for the station, and Lindsey coming on helped out a lot,” Washington said. 

Patrolling the airwaves with rhythm and soul

Lindsey Renee’s time as co-host was short-lived. Three months in, around November 2021, Lardell Sims made what he would call “a business decision.” 

“He went behind my back and bought me airtime. I was not happy with that,” Lindsey Renee explained of her father. “I had only been doing this for three months with Mr. Washington. So, how do you go from that to doing a whole show by yourself?”

Lardell Sims’ side of the story is that he watched his daughter grow over those three months and knew it was time for her to spread her wings. He came up with the “Rhythm and Soul Patrol Show” name, which Lindsey Renee says means she’s patrolling the airwaves with rhythm and soul. In preparation for the first show, she rebranded herself from “Lindsey Sims” to “Lindsey Renee.” Her father helped her select and research the songs.

“I was a little concerned, but I had faith in her,” David Washington said. “She had so much confidence, and with her dad being her guide, I knew she would be OK.”   

Originally, the show aired once a week and Lindsey Renee continued to work her restaurant job. It expanded to five days a week last spring, now airing from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 4-6 p.m. on Fridays. The more she established her groove, the more Lardell Sims became hands off. By January of this year, the show belonged completely to Lindsey Renee. That’s when she began to tap into her creative and entrepreneurial instincts. 

“Yes, I’m on the radio, but I asked myself ‘what can I do to promote myself outside of being on the radio,’” she said.

Lindsey Renee Sims, 21, decorated her bedroom like an old 1960s’ studio, using her collection of records, an 8-track player, a jukebox, and posters and has embraced using social media to promote her show and knowledge of oldies music. (Courtesy photo)

Lindsey Renee decorated her bedroom like an old 1960s’ studio, using her collection of records, an 8-track player, a jukebox, and posters. She began posting short videos of herself introducing records and playing them with that aesthetic as the backdrop. She followed up by going live from the radio station during her shows, answering questions and taking song requests in the comments. That’s when her show began to take off, attracting a wave of younger listeners.

Delisca, the soul patroller 1,200 miles away in the Bahamas, described himself as a closeted oldies fan who was too scared to play Curtis Mayfield and Sam Cooke in front of his friends until he came across one of Lindsey Renee’s live videos on Instagram. 

“Now, I’m out,” DeLisca said. “Lindsey Renee gave me courage.” 

Delisca said Lindsey Renee is making oldies music cool again and he’s now using her show to introduce his friends to the music. None of this surprises David Washington.

“Lindsey is in a better position than I am to actually reach the young crowd because a younger crowd will pay more attention to someone in their own age group,” he said. 

It’s not just the younger audiences she’s reaching on social media. Teresa Jordan, 66, also discovered the show on Instagram. Jordan, who lives in California, happens to be married to War’s frontman Lonnie Jordan.

“Lindsey reminds me of myself when I was young in my room with my record player and my 45s.” Jordan said. “I had to show Lonnie. He’s always busy working in his office, but I went in and said, ‘Lonnie, you gotta see this.”

The Jordans connected with Lindsey Renee, and Lonnie Jordan became one of her first interviews. 

“Lonnie and I both have embraced her,” Teresa Jordan said. “We almost feel like we’re her second parents.”

“Yes, I’m on the radio, but I asked myself ‘what can I do to promote myself outside of being on the radio,’” Lindsey Renee Sims said about how she takes to social media to elevate her brand. (Courtesy photo)

Family is a big theme on Lindsey Renee’s show. She has incorporated the family values her parents instilled in her as a child, turning her platform into somewhat of a family venture. 

A popular segment on the show is called the “Parent Patrol.” Every Thursday, Lindsey Renee designates time for her parents to come on to discuss parenting, love and relationships. 

“It started off with just my dad coming on, and we would have our daddy-daughter talks,” she said. “Listeners would message me and say, ‘I really liked what your dad said about this or that. We need more of that.’ And it just grew from there.”

The show’s popularity also comes with new opportunities for Lindsey Renee. She has been in talks with a few radio stations across the nation, which could end with the “Rhythm and Soul Patrol Show” reaching an even larger audience.

“Syndication is on my vision board,” Lindsey Renee said. “Being able to teach the message in the music and reach that many people is part of my mission to bring love songs back.”

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  1. What a great, uplifting article about a wonderful person! I’ll definitely be tuning in on Monday morning. Thanks for a great start to the weekend!

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