From gigging as a trumpeter with Lionel Hampton in 1951, to producing Michael Jackson’s album Thriller, to scoring 50 Cent’s autobiographical film Get Rich or Die Tryin’, Quincy Jones has demonstrated he has no creative boundaries…
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Quincy Jones: Facing Adversity
Quincy Jones has taken on many different titles in his lifetime. He’s been a record producer, television producer, an instrumentalist, an arranger, a composer, a conductor, and an entrepreneur. Phil Ek, producer of the Shins, Modest Mouse, and Fleet Foxes, said, “A producer is the person who creatively guides or directs the process of making a record, like a director would a movie.” Under this light, we can see that Jones’ other musical titles – instrumentalist, arranger, and composer – all are a part of the title “record producer.” For this reason, Jones is best classified as a producer entrepreneur. Quincy’s ability to creatively guide projects is what allows him to work in different types of projects. While one could argue that Quincy Jones’ jazz training is the reason for his success, Quincy Jones’ early childhood adversity inspired his passion for music, his zealous work habit, and his philanthropy; these qualities set him leagues a part from his peers, and, due to his impact on society, make him the greatest producer entrepreneur to have ever lived. Analysis Background and Personal Narrative One of the most significant distinctions between Quincy and his competitors is his love for music. While on a surface level, this may sound cliché; a look inside his early childhood reveals the depth of his attachment to music. Quincy and his brothers heard that there was food in a rec center, so they broke in, found the freezer where lemon meringue pie and ice cream was stored, and as they were stuffing their faces, Quincy saw a tiny stage in the room and on it was an old upright piano. Quincy went up there, paused, stared, and then played some notes. He says, “That’s where I began to find peace. I was eleven. I knew this was it for me. Forever.” Before this moment, he used to pull switchblades on white kids because they made racial remarks. With music, Quincy “found something real to trust, and began to learn how to hope and to cope.” Quincy continued to break in to the building to play piano every day. He says the search for just the right piano notes soothed him, healed him, and killed his fear. His real mother was gone, both physically and mentally, but with music Quincy “found another mother.” Jones’ intimate connection with music supplied his drive to continue pursuing music from that moment onward. From his father, Quincy learned discipline. “Once a task is just begun, never leave it till it’s done. Be the labor great or small, do it well or not at all,” Quincy’s father told him at a young age. This motto became ingrained in to Quincy’s memory, and clearly stuck with him throughout his career. His dad supported eight children with $55 and an occasional bond from the Navy. Quincy and his real brother were expected to help the household by working. Quincy’s love of music led him to working at a jook joint. However, father instructed that he couldn’t go inside the main level because unethical activities happened there; so, he worked underneath. He tried to not disobey his father, and succeeded for months. However, Quincy’s attraction to music was too strong. One day, a band was so “funkin’ so hard” that Quincy had to go check them out. Quincy didn’t take “no” for an answer, an attitude that persisted for his career, and continuously led him to success. Although his father caught Quincy in the
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