I was recently awarded the opportunity to fly to Los Angeles to meet Quincy Jones, the most Grammy-nominated artist in history, with 79 nominations and 27 wins, and producer for Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin and Celine Dion (Biography.com).
As soon as I decided I wanted to be in the music industry, submitting my first demo tapes at the age of 8, I modeled myself after Mr. Jones. I tried to learn as many instruments as I could, develop my production skills, and also learn how to navigate the complexities of music business.
When Mr. Jones walked into the room, controlling emotions was not easy. Being face to face with the person behind those responsible for my first musical memories was overwhelming. I was greeted with a pound, jokes, and inquiries about my music, social activism and philanthropic endeavors. He was sharp yet calm, engaged while being completely at ease. Our conversation covered topics of politics, life, love, youth, poverty and of course, music. He was well versed in all subjects, speaking with profound factual knowledge and inspiring insight.
Catching a glimpse of the bracelet engraved with Nelson Mandela’s prison number (46664) given to my brother and I by my father, a long-time peace relations professional for the United Nations, Mr. Jones was elated. This led to conversations about what it is to be a humanitarian and philanthropist, which is absolutely awe inspiring from the man responsible for “We Are The World”.
Advice from someone with almost 7 decades of successful music industry experience is invaluable. He spoke to me about his projects, artists and ideas. We talked about production, musicianship and sophistication when it comes to making records.
Touring his awards gallery and being in the presence of the unparalleled accolades gained from his accomplishments was an out of body experience. I was fueled by the size of the gallery, the different awards, the multitude of trophies, plaques and certificates. I left his home with a wealth of new knowledge, a renewed sense of purpose and self, and the memories of an experience unmatched.
To my supporters and fans, thank you for getting me here, I promise I will not let you down. The real work begins now.