Advice to Young Artists (by the legendary Ray Charles)

I was lucky, I had free rein, nobody told me what to do, or how to do it, or when to do it. Today, unfortunate for the young artists, they got producers who tell them what to say, how to say it, and they end up sounding all the same. I had identity when I was coming up. If Ella Fitzgerald open her mouth and say one word, you knew that was Ella Fitzgerald…you knew that was Frank Sinatra…but today, record companies they want you to come up with and sound like whoever had the last hit, thats what they want. I cant blame the artists, the artist wants to record and so they’ve got these producers and they want to do what the producer says. If as opposed to say, “hey, Im creating my stuff, I’m gonna do it the way I feel and you worry about the selling of it”. But you see, they can’t do that nowadays, it just doesn’t work that way.

I would say to any young artist coming up: If you have faith in yourself, if you know what you’re doing is good; and how do you know that? You can compare it with what you hear that is out there.  And is it unique? […]


Believe in yourself, don’t be discouraged, don’t let nobody discourage you. Keep on keeping on, as we say, and above all practice!

Ray Charles


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