The 21 Best James Taylor Quotes

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Singer-songwriter James Taylor remains one of the most beloved musicians of his generation. His touch on the guitar and his delicate-yet-piercing singing voice are practically unparalleled. He’s also a favorite of country star Garth Brooks, as well as many more.

But while many of us are more than familiar with Taylor’s musical oeuvre, what about what the artist had to say on life, itself? What were his thoughts about the craft of songwriting and the joy of being a critical thinker? What did he think about love?

That’s the subject of this inquiry. Here, we will dive into the best 21 quotes from James Taylor. So, without further ado, let’s dive in.

1. “I started being a songwriter pretending I could do it, and it turned out I could.”

2. “I don’t take compliments very easily. I think most musicians suffer from low self-esteem to some extent.”

3. “Songwriting is too mysterious and uncontrolled a process for me to direct it towards any one thing.”

4. “I collect hats. That’s what you do when you’re bald.”

5. “Time will take your money, but money won’t buy time.”

6. “I don’t know much about God. But if everything does originate with God, then certainly songs do as well.”

7. “If you’re an addict, it controls your life and your life becomes uncontrollable. It’s boring and painful, filling your system with something that makes you stare at your shoes for six hours.”

8. “I think that American music, for me, it’s a synthesis of a lot of different things. But for me growing up in North Carolina, the stuff that I was listening to, the things that I was hearing, it was all about black music, about soul music.”

9. “I am myself for a living. I don’t animate a character.”

10. “Certain things in life are more important than the usual crap that everyone strives for.”

11. “That’s the motivation of an artist—to seek attention of some kind.”

12. “I find it a lot healthier for me to be someplace where I can go outside in my bare feet.”

13. “The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.”

14. “It is a process of discovery. It’s being quiet enough and undisturbed enough for a period of time so that the songs can begin to sort of peek out, and you begin to have emotional experiences in a musical way.”

15. “I think that we’re all totally isolated beings and always will be.”

16. “I don’t think anyone really says anything new.”

17. “Knowing when to quit is probably a very important thing, but I just am not ready.”

18. “I tend to write out the first iteration of a lyric here and then go over here and make variations on it, on the page opposite.”

19. “A concert is always like a feast day to me.”

20. “Bruce Springsteen’s a rock star. Elton John is a rock star. I’m a folk musician. Honestly, I think that’s true.”

21. “I have a love-hate relationship with the Grammys because I don’t see the music world as a competitive sport.”

Photo Credit: Norman Seeff

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