The Best Advice Quincy Jones Ever Got

Even legends can use a little guidance, and Quincy’s comes courtesy of esteemed French composer Nadia Boulanger.


Walking down the hall of Quincy Jones’s house is like strolling through the annals of a museum dedicated to the greatest pop songs ever produced. Platinum records adorn the walls (all of Michael Jackson’s greatest), there’s photos of Quincy grinning alongside Frank Sinatra, Paul McCartney, and Stevie Wonder; on one wall hangs framed sheet music of “We Are the World” scribbled with birthday messages from Bruce Springsteen, Lindsey Buckingham, and Hall and Oates. One of Quincy’s earliest pop forays—Lesley Gore’s “It’s My Party”—is immortalized as a gold 7-inch, and then there’s all those Grammys glinting in glass cases (he’s won 28 and been nominated for 80). One framed gift from Epic Record proclaims “For Quincy Jones, the #1 producer in the world”.

Cutting his teeth on the jazz scene as a trumpeter, over the course of his storied career Quincy’s worn the hats of musical director, producer, arranger, songwriter, and record exec (to name a few). Of the 86 years he’s spent on this earth, he’s been playing a musical instrument for roughly 80 of them.

In the flesh—as in his daughter Rashida’s 2018 Netflix doc—he’s jovial and warm, chock full of stories peppered with a bewildering number of famous names, but he’s just as keen to find out all the camera crew’s names when we shoot his episode of Best Advice high up in the Bel Air hills. And their star signs. Quincy is big into star signs.

Whittling down the buckets of handed down advice took some time, but it turns out his most salient nugget comes from the esteemed French composer Nadia Bolanger who Quincy worked with way when.

Quincy Jones Best Advice BTS
Quincy Jones Best Advice BTS

Watch his Best Advice above and binge the whole series featuring the likes of Ciara, Lizzo, Karen O, Rick Ross, and many more, right here.