Quotes from 9 legends that will light a fire under your ass

FKA twigs, Hans Zimmer, Nicki Minaj and more on why you should never quit

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FKA twigs – Autumn /Winter 2016
All clothes Topshop Unique, ear cuff with attached nose ring, feather nose piece House of Malakai, septum ring twigs’ own, earrings Maria TashPhotography Ryan McGinley, fashion Karen Langley

There are a lot of people who are very talented at what they do, and a lot of people who are mediocre. It’s often the mediocre but persistent ones who succeed – the people who refuse to take “no” for an answer, who continue to slave away at their work even if it’s not turning out, or it’s underappreciated. Maybe it’s not quite right yet, but they hack away until 10,000 hours later they realize they are an expert. These people, who have a fire permanently lit under their asses, become the next Raf Simons, Tyler, the Creator, Hans Zimmer or FKA twigs. What each of them has in common is an unquenchable desire to succeed, and succeed again.

That has to be you. And there will be people who tell you that you can’t. You’re not “right” for the job, or not especially talented. Perhaps you give up after one email, or are too afraid to approach a possible mentor in real life. Nobody will tell you that you have to be a photographer, an artist, a musician, a writer. Whether a teacher gives you a failing grade, or someone drowning in jealousy says you should give up: Don’t. There will be hurdles, obvious or otherwise. But if they see an unignorable hunger for what you want to achieve, eventually these people will shrink away as your talent blossoms. In the words of Patrick Verona from 10 Things I Hate About You, “Don’t let anyone, ever, make you feel like you don’t deserve what you want.”

Some of the people who now speak from a place of wisdom about creativity have been exactly where you are right now at one point or another. RuPaul turned tricks before he became an Emmy award-winning reality show host; FKA twigs danced back-up in a Jessie J music video before releasing her first single. Hans Zimmer created the Driving Miss Daisy score all on his own. Nothing is better than reveling in your own success, knowing you’ve accomplished something you worked hard for, remembering that it was all waiting for you – you just had to reach out and grab it. Get motivated from these eight quotes from people who refused to stop doing what they love.

TYLER, THE CREATOR, RAPPER & DESIGNER

“Learn to do by fucking doing, not studying. Everything I did I learnt by myself: design, Photoshop, all my instruments. I’ve never taken a fucking lesson. Just study and go do it. I don’t go on fucking YouTube or Google ‘how to do a kick flip’. I fucking just do and figure it out.”

FUTURE, RAPPER

“I’m always fighting for what I believe in. And when you’re confident in what you believe in, it will always work out for the best. I was always very competitive growing up, in playing basketball or football, and I think my uncompromising attitude comes from that competitive nature. I had to be competitive to get my music out there and heard. People didn’t know what to do with it at first because it was so different than the normal stuff on the radio.”

Taken from the Spring/Summer 2014 issue of Dazed

MAC DEMARCO, MUSICIAN

“I’m trying to express what I am. I’m done with this flying-to-LA, playing-throughsome-jackass’s-amp shit. I want to have my stuff, get stinky, stay in the van for two months and really get into the groove of it. I love getting into the groove of it.”

Taken from the Spring/Summer 2014 issue of Dazed

HANS ZIMMER, COMPOSER

“To somehow manage to survive, to somehow manage to not get kicked out of the flat and not to have the electricity cut off (was my ambition when I first started out). Which is every musicians ambition at a certain point. The ambition is essentially not to take no (for an answer) and ‘good advice’ like, ‘You shouldn’t be a musician’ and, ‘You should go and get a job.’ My ambition was to basically not listen.”

RAF SIMONS, DESIGNER

“It’s a good start to be faithful to yourself as well as to the audience that has built up your brand. It is the same with good bread; you go to the same bakery. If you are happy with a BMW, you will buy them your whole life. But fashion is different as it constantly changes; it’s a very different world. People have very big desires in that world for change. You have to be constantly aware and well connected with reality and the future.”

Taken from the July 2004 issue of Dazed

RUPAUL, CREATOR OF RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE

“I don’t really do anything for the fans. I do (drag) because this is what I do to make this life entertaining for myself. I was doing this before I had fans. Fans come after. I have to do it, because this is what I like doing, and it keeps me entertained. I love the fact that people dig what I’m doing, but I dig what I’m doing first and foremost. I have to!”

FKA TWIGS, MUSICIAN

“When I was a kid, I was always making things, practising, dancing… My whole life has been one big art experiment. And this one thing that I’m accidentally good at has just got me here. It’s an accident. Like, one day you wake up and you’re just doing what you really love and people say, ‘Oh, you’re really good at that, you should keep on going, we’re waiting for the next thing.’”

DAMARIS LEWIS, MUSE TO PRINCE

“No legend ever fit in. I think that, when you look back on history, every single person whose name we knew, we knew because they didn’t fit in.I always give the example of the Wright Brothers. I’m pretty sure when they told someone they wanted to invent something that flew inthe skyandtransferredpeople from place to place, people looked at them like they were crazy. They had these ideas that nobodyelse had,but having those ideas and going with them is what made (those people)make history.”

NICKI MINAJ, RAPPER

“You have to be like a beast. You have to be a beast. That’s the only way they respect you. I came up under Wayne, and Wayne has his way of doing things. When Wayne walks up on the motherfuckin’ set and-and say, ‘Don’t talk to me, have my fucking music ready, get the fuck up out of my face, I’mma blow this shit in your fucking face all day, it’s cool.’ But every time I – every time I put my foot down and stand up for myself, it’s like, ‘We’ve heard about Nicki Minaj! Nicki Minaj shut down a photo shoot! Oh my god! No one wants to work with Nicki Minaj!’

I’m glad you heard. Now, when I come to a photoshoot, let it be of quality. You know why? Because I put quality in what I do. I spend time, and I spend energy, and I spend effort, and I spend everything I have, every fiber of my being to give people quality. So if I turn up to a photoshoot and you had – you got a fifty dollar clothes budget and some sliced pickles on the motherfucking board, you wanna know what? No, I am gonna leave. Is that wrong? For wanting more for myself? Wanting people to treat me with respect? But you know what? Next time they know better. But I had accepted the pickle juice, I would be drinking pickle juice right now.”

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