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Quincy Jones Shares Best 'We Are The World' Story + Rates 'Thriller' vs. 'Off The Wall' [Exclusive]

A Conversation With Quincy Jones, The Walking Museum [Exclusive]

Photos by Dorothy Hong / Team Epiphany

When there’s an opportunity to be in the same room as Quincy Jones… you go!

A troupe of L.A. folks gathered at The Village Studios to celebrate the legend’s most recent collaboration. The Village, infamously known, was decked in plaques as the likes of Pink Floyd, Mariah Carey and Frank Sinatra have all walked through its doors. A roster that fairly duels with Quincy Jones’ own resumé. This night is about his latest collab with JBL, whose equipment he says he’s worked with his entire recording career. Together, with his daughter Kidada Jones as creative director, they’ve created the E55BT Quincy Edition Headphones, a special edition over-ear wireless headphone.

But this soiree wasn’t just a typical launch event but an “experiment.” Quincy made his way to the center of the room to elaborate on the partnership and after a brief round of questions from the press, Chloe x Halle, Masego, designer Melody Ehsani, fashion veteran Josh Peskowitz, and artist Mark Anthony Green surrounded around Quincy for a live product photo shoot. It was a twist meant to serve as a metaphoric passing of the torch but I’m not quite sure Quincy has let go of his grip of said “torch.”

After decades and decades of legendary work, at 84-years-old, here he is, still creating, collaborating and filling a room full of admirers, running on passion he says. At the end of the event, I got a chance to pick his brain on this, Kendrick Lamar and, oh, Prince not wanting to be a part of “We Are The World”.

Okayplayer: I’m sure you get pitches all time, what made you say yes to this collaboration with JBL?

Quincy Jones: Well I’ve been using their equipment all my life, my whole recording career. It was divine intervention. We hooked up with Dinesh the CEO and it was over.

OKP: I feel like you’re a walking museum…

QJ: I feel like it too. That’s what happens when you get to 84. You’ll see, you’ll be 84 one day. With technology, you’ll be able to live until 150.

OKP: I hope so. What are some tips you’d give your younger self?

QJ: Well the one thing I always say is keep your humility with your creativity and your grace with your success. Don’t get all carried away because you got a #1 record or a #10 record. Just chill, really. Don’t get carried away.

OKP: “We Are The World” was so monumental but what was your reaction when Prince didn’t want to be a part of it.

QJ: Well, we only had Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson… I wasn’t upset. He wanted to play guitar and I wanted him to sing right after Michael in the bridge.

OKP: What is your favorite memory with Michael Jackson?

MJ: Everything. He’s one of the most talented people who has ever hit this planet. He has been since he was a little kid from Gary, Indiana. That city can make anybody a star. He was smart because he looked at James Brown, he looked at Sammy Davis, he looked at The Nicholas Brothers, Gene Kelly, all of them. He was always paying attention to who the best ones were and that’s the way you get good, copy the ones that are doing it great.

OKP: Forever and ever people will probably debate Off The Wall versus Thriller. If you had to choose a favorite between the two which would you pick?

QJ: Off The Wall. It’s my favorite but I love all of them.

OKP: You mentioned earlier that you really like Kendrick Lamar. Have you heard his new album, DAMN.?

QJ: We just got it today. I love him, man. It’s who you are as a human being first, that’s what it’s about and he’s a great human being, and I feel the same way about Chance [The Rapper], and The Weeknd. Great people.

The Q x JBL headphones are currently available for purchase at JBL.com retails for $199.95 and can be purchased in either space gray or dusty rose colorways. Learn more at JBL.com/CES.

Evanka W. is a social media manager, writer, and weapon of mass construction. Follow her (and us!) on Twitter @LOVEvanka.


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