Amen to Questlove’s Advice For Choosing Your Dream Job

We all have so much to learn from Questlove. The Roots drummer and legendary music producer recently got up with Hot 97 as part of an interview series called “The Reflection,” in which he meditated on how his career progressed over time, how he stays inspired, and how he’s maintained to stay success. We broke down some of his wisest words from the clip.

Look at music that inspires you like a puzzle

…and decode its pieces. In 2009, someone sent Quest the Protools stems to his favorite album, Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall. With them, he was able to decode how Jackson, Quincy Jones, and engineer Bruce Swedien crafted the album, which helped him see the music differently.

Structure isn’t always necessary to make a beautiful product

And sometimes, disorganization is better. The Roots came about from an innocent jam session, and they would give impromptu performances on street corners in the early ’90s. “Part of the process of what makes The Roots The Roots is that we make so many things in real time, spontaneously, in front of an audience.”

Spend time seeking new ideas and getting creative with what already exists

Quest spends five to six hours every Sunday listening to new music. For him, there’s a difference between listening to music and truly absorbing it. “To me, it’s more of a spiritual experience,” he said. He listens to about 30-40 records each week, seeking tracks for samples or for sources of inspiration.

His recipe for success?

Find a passion + pursue it for the right reasons. “Your dream job is the job you’re willing to wake up at four in the morning for,” he said.

Don’t get caught up in the accessories that come with success.

“People get mad I don’t take advantage of all the amenities offered to me,” he said. “That’s because that stuff comes and goes… What’s more important is honing a craft.”

Don’t Stop Growing

Finally, Quest explains that many artists fail to sustain their bountiful careers because they fail to push themselves after reaching a certain point. For him, the grind never stops.

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