Painting Mastery II: Being Yourself

I started thinking about [who I was as a musician and establishing my own sound] in 1950 or ‘51. But I was scared to try. I could get a lot of work sounding like Nat (King) Cole. I woke up one morning and I started to thinking, nobody knows my name. Everybody said to me, “Hey kid, hey kid, you sound just like Nat Cole, hey kid.” It was always “Hey kid.” Nobody never said “Ray,” never, never, never. So I started telling myself: “Your Momma always told you to be yourself. And you got to be yourself if you’re going to make it in this business. I know you love Nat Cole. But you got to stop that.”

Musician Ray Charles (from an interview with Terry Gross on National Public Radio’s Fresh Air program, 1998)

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