Bobby McFerrin, fully Robert "Bobby" McFerrin, Jr.

Bobby
McFerrin, fully Robert "Bobby" McFerrin, Jr.
1950

American Vocalist and Conductor best known for song "Don't Worry, Be Happy", 10-time Grammy Winner

Author Quotes

Miles Davis turned his back to the audience when he came out on stage, and he offended people. But, he wasn't there to entertain; he was all about the music. I kind of do that.

But, if there's any aspect of my career that needs attention, it's writing.

My biggest musical influences are probably my parents.

I did the one concert, and I was not bitten by the conducting bug, and I thought I was done, but then the phone started to ring, and gradually, over time, I started conducting more and more. Now a third of my performances are with orchestras.

My father was a very disciplined singer who worked hard at his craft, and I was around that growing up.

I do a lot of performing, but don't get a chance to go to the studio and write good music.

Part of our responsibility as parents, as adults, is to set examples for children. But we have to like children in order to be really happy fulfilled adults.

I don't want anything to get in the way of me and my singing. I want my mind as clear as possible.

Seriously though, my father was the first African American to sign a contract with the Metropolitan Opera so I grew up with classical music and jazz in the home all the time.

I grew up in a time when being a musician and learning to be a musician was actually very wonderful.

So I went to California State University, the composition department, and I studied composition and orchestration and things like that.

I have a lot of albums yet to do.

The true musician is to bring light into people's hearts.

I like a very dark house, just black. I sit there and just think. Once I'm still and quiet inside, I'll begin. It's very personal; it has to be. One song may be Bach, the next blues, a song from TV, or a nursery rhyme or jazz piece.

Then I came up with this crazy idea just to walk out on the stage with no band at all and just start singing whatever came to mind. I actually fought the idea for a while because it seemed almost too radical, but it became obvious what I was supposed to be doing.

I like to use the audience as my color palette, my instrument.

Then I left that school and I went to Cerritos College, which was in southern California; they had one of the best big band programs in the country at the time.

I played piano as a kid; I still play a little bit.

Then when I was in grammar school I played the clarinet, and then, after clarinet I played the flute in college orchestra - besides singing in the college chorus and things like that.

I prepared five songs, I sang them, and he hired me. I started working about a month later at the piano bar.

Well, I started conducting kind of by accident. I wanted to give myself a special birthday present for my fortieth birthday, and I was living in San Francisco at the time and I started attending some of the concerts and then simply dropping hints.

I want to write a book of poetry, as well as children's stories.

When I'm on stage by myself, I don't have to think about anything. I don't have to worry about anything because I'm not responsible for anything except just opening my mouth and making sure music comes out.

I'd actually been making my living as an organist with bands since I was probably 15 or 16 years old, and then as a senior in high school I put together a jazz quintet called The Bobby Mack Jazz Quintet.

If I can bring joy into the world, if I can get people to stop thinking about their pain for a moment, or the fact the tomorrow morning they're going to get up and tell their boss off... then I'll be successful.

Author Picture
First Name
Bobby
Last Name
McFerrin, fully Robert "Bobby" McFerrin, Jr.
Birth Date
1950
Bio

American Vocalist and Conductor best known for song "Don't Worry, Be Happy", 10-time Grammy Winner