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Key to success: Vision Key to success: Passion Key to success: Perseverance Key to success: Preparation Key to success: Courage Key to success: Integrity Key to success: The American Dream Keys to success homepage More quotes on Passion More quotes on Vision More quotes on Courage More quotes on Integrity More quotes on Preparation More quotes on Perseverance More quotes on The American Dream


James Earl Jones

National Medal of Arts

James Earl Jones: Donald Crouch in high school said, "Do you like these words?" And, I was then writing words of my own. He said, "Do you like these words? Do you like the way they sound in your head?" He said, "Well, they sound ten times better when you give 'em out in the air. It's too bad you can't say these words." He began to challenge me, to nudge me toward speaking again, and by using my own poetry and then other poets because he himself was a compatriot of Robert Frost, he himself was a poet. He himself said he learned a poem a day, in case he went blind, he'd have a whole book of poems in his head. And he nudged me toward that, toward acknowledging and appreciating the beauty of words.
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James Earl Jones

National Medal of Arts

I happened to happened to land in a time, in the middle '60s, that without knowing it, and without being told by the history of theater -- which we now see from a historical point of view was an explosive time. I got out of the Army -- in my world -- I came to New York, for instance, when the civil rights movement was just beginning, and that created a certain energy, a certain rumble, a certain impetus for black actors. And the game was not to get caught up in it, not to get swept away by it, but to keep on track of what you wanted to do. You weren't going to the theater to change the world, but you had a chance to affect the world, the thinking and the feelings of the world.
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James Earl Jones

National Medal of Arts

I met the whole avant garde world, and in England it was referred to as the "angry young men" period. In Europe it was avant-garde, and we were "theater of the absurd." Put together, you saw, internationally, theater now being available to the proletarian, that anybody could be an actor. You didn't have to have the elite family background of the Barrymores. The door was open for Marlon Brando, you know, real common man. When Marlon did his work, when he did his Stanley Kowalski, every truck driver in New York said, "Hey, I could do that! That's me, I could do that!" And that was very important. It was a very, very important movement, the "I can do that" movement, you know. And I was a part of that, you know. So that included women could play men's roles, and blacks could play white roles, and truck drivers could play Marlon Brando roles. And I think that's what sort of opened life up for me, opened up that artistic life up for me.
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James Earl Jones

National Medal of Arts

James Earl Jones: Acting is not about anything romantic, not even fantasy, although you do create fantasy. It's not about that. It's simply very concrete. A playwright conjures a vision of a world, and he interprets that world through words. You then take those words on stage or on the screen and try to bring it alive by the interrelations between one character and another and what they say to each other. In movies it's less important what they say; it's how they behave. It's about that.
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Quincy Jones

Music Impresario

I had transferred all of the need of what we didn't have, so I didn't need it anymore because I had something else that was beautiful, it was mine, I could always depend on. I could always go there no matter what happened, racial things or whatever happened. I could go there and it would be okay. It was my own little world and I could make it what I wanted it to be.
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Quincy Jones

Music Impresario

One night we went and broke in another door, and I broke into this door and there was a piano there, and I just walked around the room to see what was there first, and then hands kind of hit the keyboard and I remembered from Chicago next door when I was a kid, there was a little girl named Lucy that used to play piano, and it brought everything back because I was never very good at music when I was little. I never paid any attention to it in school. And, from that moment on when I touched those keys, I said, "This is it. I'm not going to do the other thing again. I'm going here." And, that's what happened.
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Quincy Jones

Music Impresario

Lionel Hampton's band came through Seattle then too. That was a very significant thing in my life because as I said before we played with Bumps Blackwell's band and Charlie Taylor's band for Billie Holiday, and then Billy Eckstine, at 14 and 15 years old. So, Hamp came through there then, and that was my dream to be with that band, more than any band because I saw every band that came through: Stan Kenton, Basie, Duke, Louis Armstrong, everybody. I was out in front hypnotized every night. I just couldn't believe it, that there is the way to be a man, to have your dignity, to be proud of what you do. And there were 18 musicians -- there was something about that kind of unity, too -- that were really playing good, and made military bands look like military bands, or the white traveling bands, you know. But, there was something about it that just really hit a serious chord in me, and I wanted to know everything about it. That's why I wanted to write so quick. As soon as I picked up the trumpet I heard arrangements in my head of those ensembles. How do you write for 18 musicians, or eight brass and five saxes, and not have them playing the same notes?
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Quincy Jones

Music Impresario

So far, I haven't found any experience that is more pleasurable than trying to -- it takes you three, two nights to sit down at the blank page of score paper and then try to imagine and hear that orchestra sound in your head and put what you think is going to sound like you think it sounds on that paper for each instrument. And, finally having the orchestra there, and when you do the down beat -- to hear that sound -- there's no experience in the world like that.
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Quincy Jones

Music Impresario

If it's in human nature, or nature, or just to pay attention to see what it's all about because I think African music is so powerful and probably governs the rhythm of every music in the world is because it's taken straight from nature, you know. You know that the birds did not imitate flutes. It's the reverse. And thunder didn't imitate the drums. It was the reverse. And so, the elements of nature, what it comes from, that's the most powerful force there is. It's like a melody. You can study orchestration, you can study harmony and theory and everything else, but melodies come straight from God. There's really no technique for melodies, really. I guess there's something about music that's always fascinated me and I apply what the essence of what that's about in everything I do, whether we do film or magazines or whatever it is. You can't touch it, you can't taste it, you can't smell it, you can't see it. You just feel it and it hangs in the air. It owns -- it dominates -- every time period. String quartets had its own time period and nobody can ever change it, because it's hanging up there in heaven some place.
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Naomi Judd

Country Music Artist and Social Advocate

And one night, I handed her an old flanky guitar, just so we could keep from killing each other, and something magical happened when I handed her that guitar. I said, "Hmm, very interesting." She just acted like it was an appendage of herself, and she would sit, literally for hours, hunkered over this thing, and I went, "Hmm. Now, if I was to participate with her, what would happen?" And really, it was that natural in evolution. There was never any epiphany where you went, "Bingo, I've got it. We'll go to Nashville and be country singers." We were just trying to communicate with each other.
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Naomi Judd

Country Music Artist and Social Advocate

So that as we lived in a splendid isolation on this hilltop in Morrill, Kentucky, I was doing it for a multitude of reasons. One was to sort of decompress and demystify the Hollywood thing -- you know, the artifice, the greed, the commercialization -- just sort of to turn down the background noise. I needed the solitude definitely for my studies, and I really wanted the girls to understand their Appalachian heritage. I had already been hip to it my whole life, but I really wanted them to understand this very rich legacy that they had. And this was just such fertile ground for them to each tap into that intuition that gets beat out of kids these days. So when I took away all of this overstimulation and they really had to hear their own inner voices and open up, like I said, Wynonna was 12 and Ashley was eight at that point, and Ashley, frankly, didn't need music to communicate. She was one of these popular, well-rounded, "straight A" kind of kids, very autonomous. So I handed her a book, and the same thing happened. She began to develop a fantasy life with the written page.
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