Soul legend Smokey Robinson is urging tycoons investing in the industrial ghost town of Detroit to create thousands of jobs as a boost for local families.

The Tears of a Clown hitmaker was born and raised in the city and he went on to forge his stellar career on the roster of Detroit-based record label Motown.

He has watched in despair as his hometown suffers an economic downturn due to the collapse of the car industry, and although some businesses from China and South America are investing in the region, Robinson is adamant it is pointless if they cannot create jobs for locals.

He tells Mojo magazine, "(Detroit suffered) because of (Motown moving to Los Angeles) and the auto industry moving out. It's kinda like in a devastated state right now. I hope something happens to turn it around... Buy up all they want to buy up, but if they don't create jobs it's not gonna mean anything."