In-depth interview with Quincy Jones

Quincy Jones

I can remember the first time I stumbled on this interview with Quincy Jones on Achievement.org. I was blown away. To hear the brains behind Michael Jackson’s Thriller album production share his journey from a poor, obscure childhood to a mega-successful adult was so refreshing and empowering. I can’t remember how many times I have reread this interview (as well as Ted Turner’s); must have been a zillion times. Haha! But I love it!

If you’ve always thought poverty (the guy actually fed on fried rats at a time, can you believe that !!!) and racism are insurmountable challenges, then Quincy Jones will change your mind.

Please read and be blessed:

 Quincy Jones

(Quincy Jones was first interviewed by the Academy of Achievement on June 3, 1995 in Williamsburg, Virginia and again on October 28, 2000 in London, England. The following transcript draws on both interviews.)

You were born in Chicago. What was your life like when you were a child?

Quincy Jones: We were in the heart of the ghetto in Chicago during the Depression, and every block — it was probably the biggest black ghetto in America — every block — it also is the spawning ground probably for every gangster, black and white, in America too. So, we were around all of that. We saw that every day. There was a policeman named Two Gun Pete, a black policeman, who used to shoot teenagers in the back every weekend and everything happened there all the time. A gang on every street: the Vagabonds, the Giles HC, the Scorpions, and just on and on. In each gang they had the dukes and duchesses, junior and senior, which accommodated everybody in the neighborhood. That was the whole idea, for unity, really. Our biggest struggle every day was we were either running from gangs or with gangs. And it was just getting to school and back home. Because if your parents aren’t home all day, you know, it’s a notorious trek. I still have the medals here from the switchblade through my hand, pinned to a tree. I had an ice pick here in the temple one time. But, when you’re young, nothing harms you, nothing scares you or anything. You don’t know any better. And in the summertime — the schools were the roughest schools probably in America. I saw teachers getting hurt and maimed and everything every day, and it was everyday stuff.

Extracted from Achievement.org Click here to continue the  interview:

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