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I’m old enough to chew my peas and corn without choking.
– Taj Mahal
I’m always cracking up when I hear what people think I should be doing.
In looking out into the world, it didn’t look all that nice out there. And who were the nice people? Certainly Mahatma Gandhi was.
I base myself in African-derived music. Blues is one of the modern forms of African music.
The one thing I’ve always demanded of the records I’ve made is that they be danceable.
I was always taught that Latin, Caribbean people were cousins to me, as well as blues was a cousin to me, as well as Africans were direct relatives to me. It was all a part of my language.
Music is like the soul of the planet.
I’m doing exactly what I always wanted to do, and I still like what I can do musically.
My parents grew up during the Harlem renaissance.
I don’t need the credits for playing the blues and paying the dues. I’ve already done it. There are some other things to do here – movies and scores and voice-overs.
I’ve only been on MTV once as one of their ‘Closet Classics,’ with some bootleg footage of a 1970 tour I did in Holland. They didn’t know what to make of my music, but they finally invented a name for it – world beat music.
What the future of the planet and music and art and all of it is sharing; it’s diversity.
More and more people are finally realizing that in the heart of America, there’s all this incredible music that wasn’t widely heard before because it wasn’t in the interest of those who feel they have to control the taste of the wider public.
I’m perceived as someone who goes out and searches for new music, but it was all present in my household.
My perspective is cultural and world-based. It’s always been a global perspective.
As a youngster, my parents made me aware that all that was from the African Diaspora belonged to me. So I came in with Caribbean music, African music, Latin music, gospel music and blues.
When I was 5 or 6, I was messing around with the piano, and I listened to everything from Chopin to boogie-woogie.
If the Rolling Stones are playing a concert across town, that’s not my audience anyways. But I do find that there’s a lot of people coming back around to see me again.
American music is a powerful ingredient in international music, and as much as it comes from within, it also comes from without.
As a kid, I always felt connected to Africa; it was something I was very proud of.
I enjoy music wherever it’s coming from.
Very old music is, like, 11th century in my mind. That’s very old.
I didn’t want to fall into the trap of complacency.
The song of the blues, the song of the music, was something a lot of people missed out on. They thought they had to swagger a certain way or bark at the mic, and you don’t have to do that.
I see myself as a composer who plays music and likes to play with other people, and not just as a solo artist.
My mother was American, and my father was from the Caribbean, and there was a big open door into the world of humanity and music.
I haven’t worn one for a long time, but I look pretty good in a suit.
When I was a kid, there was so much talent outside of recorded music.
Naw, it – it never stops, man… You gotta be doing what you’re supposed to be doing – whenever, however it’s coming down, you know. If you’re getting your butt kicked – you still gotta do what you gotta be doing.
I love playing in Germany. I love playing anywhere where people are going to enjoy the music. Germany is especially nice to play.