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Brian McKnight Quotes
Brian McKnight Quotes
"All they see is the moment in time that they see, the song, the video, part of the show that they see. They don't get the everyday person, so whenever they do see it, they're surprised. That's the part I don't like; it's so unfortunate that they don't get to see that." "As I've gotten older, now I've really got to back that up with record sales. Anytime showed me that I could still have some of those elements I wanted, but you still have to come with hit after hit after hit." "Back in college, when I got kicked out of school, I was still in school, I'd just written the song that got me my record deal. If I hadn't gotten kicked out of school I wouldn't be where I am now. Three months after that, I got my record deal and the rest is history." "Because I know how to play jazz and that's where my heart is, I need to come back to something simple again to satisfy my integrity. The average person may not understand." "Being a musician, you want to be able to do the hardest stuff there is. People would think it's classical, but in classical, it's all on the page and the difficulty is keeping up with the music." "By 17, I had a whole band that would go in and play. It was called Spontaneous Inventions, after a Bobby McFerrin album." "Directors are there to tell you what they're not getting from you on a daily basis. The thing that I love about acting-when you listen to pop music there's not a lot that stands out. But there are still great music and movies that touch the pulse of America." "Each individual song has its own thing. Some songs are really personal. Others are pure imagination." "Every little kid that steps on the court or the field has aspirations to go pro. I think being a pro basketball player is the best job. The thing I had to realize was that I can't do every dream that I have." "Everything I have has a sports connotation to it. If I play Ping-Pong, I want to win more than anything." "He knows I rip him off every day. He's the godfather for me. Nobody can say they aren't influenced by what Stevie Wonder has done." "I brought them home, sat and played with them. I didn't know that would lead to being a producer. People say, 'You do everything yourself, that's selfish.' It's not that, it's just faster for me to do it myself." "I don't care how small the game. I want to win." "I don't labor all day over something. I don't have to go through my thesaurus thinking, 'There must be another way to say this.' I try to write conversationally. There's a formula to it, and very rarely do I deviate from that." "I just do what I do and hope it's accepted by the public at large. It's different from when Marvin Gaye and Stevie revolutionized what music was 25 years ago. Now there's all this technology that's available to everyone. It's tough to be ahead of anyone." "I just happen to be a vehicle for the song. The song is the most important thing to me. Every now and then I hear a song from 20 years ago, and I won't remember the singer, but I remember the words. That's how I approach what I do." "I keep these songs in my head until I get behind the microphone. I never spend more than 30 or 40 minutes singing the vocal or it will sound mechanical. There are always mistakes, but it's about feeling more than being perfect." "I like hard singers or soft singers. When you listen to Luther Vandross]sing, it's a beautiful voice, it's nice and more of a whisper-in-your-ear kind of thing. But Stevie Wonder, it's powerful." "I think it surprises people, but I live for that. It makes me regular, human, grounded. I've developed relationships with those people in Venice." "I think that at least with that, there was nothing overtly necessarily sexual about it. No more so than grabbing my crotch onstage or simulating sex with a girl I've grabbed out of the audience. We decided to see how it would go." "I think that now taking it slow, and not hurrying... I think the right thing will be presented to me at the right time." "I think that now, I have it down to a science. I can turn it on and off when I need to. A lot of people think this happened overnight, but I've been at this 15 years. Also it's important that I write the songs too, which is different from seeing a lyric sheet from someone else." "I think that the world would need to hear some of this other stuff. When I was younger, I wanted to show everybody everything I could do, and that's why the music sounded the way it did." "I think they can co-exist. You don't have to put one down for another. I've been bitten by the acting bug, and where it takes me, it won't take away from the music." "I try to be home for my kids to do their homework and I try to work when they're asleep. I had to say, 'What's really important?' To be around, to be there for the important things that happen. To make my recording life a schedule." "I used to play pianos in bars. You know in hotels, you'd see guys playing piano with a snifter? That was me, with a painted-on mustache. I was about 15." "I wanted to put jazz on the record, all the loves of music that I had on the record, so I could show people I was ahead of my 19 years. It may have been over the heads of some people." "I was a nerd academically. But I was also an athlete and a musician. I never wanted to be shut out of any situation. I think it was that more than anything." "I was like a kid in a candy store. All I ever wanted to do was hear what the songs in my head would sound like on tape. You go nuts." "I was playing the record for radio stations and looking at the reactions people showed. I would think, 'Wow, this is a song I wrote and they like it." "I watch my contemporaries, and they love to live in the studio and I don't. I have a life. I treat it as a 9-to-5. I try to create something new every day, and then I get on with my life." "I'm living this dream and I get to have the chance to hang out and play with those guys. I think I'm doing the thing I was put on this earth to do." "I've been going out there for years. You get the crowd out there. Great Sunday-afternoon thing. I'm very competitive. I leave all the celeb stuff on the sidelines. I'm out there to play." "I've had other musicians play on my records, but I do like to be able to say I do it myself. That's not the motivating factor. And we incorporate it live, too. Right there at that moment, that's what I'm feeling." "In upstate New York, I'll see elderly people with grandchildren. I just try to write great songs and whatever category they put them in, cool." "It was very difficult to find people with the same musical taste. It didn't alienate me because I was into everything." "It's a way of challenging myself. I know I'm going to go to work tonight, so I know I better have something to go win there with. I never go to the studio without something to work on." "It's exciting because you start something brand-new. To learn something about it. Now, in music, I'm not that open to what others think because I think I know it all. So acting, I have something new to learn." "It's just exciting to be part of something that is brand-new." "It's that kind of stuff is just not commercial. When you're dealing with pop music, you're dealing with people who are not musically sophisticated. Not a dis, but it's just the same thing to it. That's what they've been fed." "It's very rare that I write the songs for someone; I write because that's what I do." "Jazz is all about improvisation and it's about the moment in time, doing it this way now, and you'll never do it this way twice. I've studied the masters. Why would I want to play ball after the guys who sit on a bench? I want to play like Michael Jordan." "Just give me a little time. And thus was so. You can't think about it. Can't let them get you off the path. You have to be true to yourself." "Like James Ingram, it's power. James can go high, then he comes back down. That's the kind of singer I lean towards. It's important to be able to do both. I model myself after James and Michael McDonald. Those are the guys who make the train move for me." "Lionel Richie told me forget about the critics. But if you come back with hit after hit, you don't have to worry about anything." "Live, you get the feedback. But when it's just you in the studio, you have to have them relate to you and you don't have them to give it back to you. That's the premise I start from. If the other people in the room feel it, then I feel it too." "Maybe I do have a future writing these songs because I see this reaction.' It's a scary thing even now. You're really just dealing with your own voice. To me, I'll love everything I do, but you don't know what anyone else's take will be on it." "Most of the stuff I learned to play, I learned in high school. I had a band in high school, a jazz-fusion thing, and I was the keyboard player. I was interested in how the instruments worked and the theory behind playing with them." "Music is the artform that gets to you most because there's no visual. Nothing in the world can touch you like that. That's what jazz did for me when I was coming up. If I can do that, then I can do something simple." "My father taught us to adapt to any environment-be involved with things because you want to and be good at it, as opposed to being an outsider." "People say, 'Don't you get writer's block?' And I say, 'No, if I don't have anything, I'm not going in. I'll sit with my guitar until something comes." "Playing drums and programming drums as a drummer is different than programming drums as a keyboardist." "So many of the songs are just for me. But there's a real simplistic thing. I don't think, today, I'll write an R&B song. I don't categorize. When I look out at my audience, they are so diverse." "Stevie didn't use the technology to drive the song. He used it to enhance. I use the tools to further my work, I don't use my work to further the tools." "That's a really interesting question that's posed all the time: 'Can we get back to this? Can music get back to that?' I don't know. Music changes day to day, and it's hard to get a hold on what will be the next big thing." "That's the same thing with piano players-Thelonious Monk, the guys that are really deep. He will give you the same kind of brain meltdown that Rachmaninoff did for the kid in Shine." "The guy comes up to the plate, there's always a chance where he can get a grand slam and everybody forgets about all the times he missed." "The only problem is to see how to top that. It was just a way to introduce the next part of the show; it gave the women a sort of fantasy-booth situation and it worked. It could have backfired and everyone hated it, but we took a chance." "There are ways to get it overnight, but if you want to be here 10, 15 years, you should learn how to play and have a foundation. If you can write songs, you won't always look this way or sound this way, but you'll have a foundation, if you can create something." "There's a place in New York where they have an open mic on Sundays. One night Stevie was there. He came up onstage with me and said, 'Can you sing 'Anytime' for me, because that's my favorite song?' That was a huge compliment." "They see so many people, who are successful-I had to learn to play on a piano, a guitar, not a patch." "Today I may be in a bad mood, and they see the worst Brian of my life, and they'll never see me again. We have bad days, bad times-everybody does. And I hate disappointing anybody in that respect. It's a catch-22, I guess." "What you get, at least from me, when you grow up singing in church, you learn how to get all the emotion you can out of what you're singing about. And how it relates to your audience. Because you're trying to touch people. I haven't changed." "When did I feel it? Wow. Probably about the time my first record came out in '91." "When it's your chance to step up to the plate, just hit it out of the park, and everybody will forget about everything that came before." "When you write that many songs, only one in 20 is one you'd like to hear on record or that will be commercially viable enough. I will write a large volume of songs, but I have a formula. Every now and then I come up with a wild card." "Whenever I fill out the job description I put 'songwriter,' never 'singer' or 'artist.' Singers come and go." "Whenever I get behind a mic I remember somebody might hear what I'm saying, need to be comforted. I try to make it personal so the listener can take it personal, too. You learn that from being an actor, too." "You can't listen to what people who aren't musical have to say. When Anytime was released, I had bad reviews, and at first I was hurt. Your songs are like your children. You don't want to hear, 'Your kid is ugly.' But I knew the record was good and it would sell." "You have to get all of your musical frustration out and then you come back to being simple again. It my not be a hit, but it satisfies the musical person in me." "You have to sell what you're doing. That's the kind of professionalism people expect when they hear you live."