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Quintessential Quincy
September 29, 2013
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Quincy Jones needs no introduction. The legendary record producer worked for singers such as Celine Dion and Diana Ross, produced Michael Jackson's chartbuster Thriller and won the Grammy awards 27 times. Jones, who took part in Dubai Music Week, had a lively session with students of the American University of Sharjah on Friday. Reem Fakhri captures the essence of the interaction

The legendary Quincy Jones came to the United Arab Emirates to participate in the Dubai Music Week. Towards the end of Dubai Music Week, Jones visited the American University of Sharjah on September 27 to have an engaging Q&A session with the students and the faculty about the topic of cultural diplomacy and his career.

At the age of 80, Jones has an impressive and phenomenal career with a huge amount of success under his belt. Jones is a record producer and has worked with many rising artists who became giants in the music industry such as: Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin and many more.

Jones produced some famous musical soundtracks such as the Wizard of Oz and Michael Jackson's bestselling album of all time, Thriller. Jones was nominated 79 times for the Grammy awards and won the award 27 times. In addition to being a record producer, Jones is a trumpet player, philanthropist, composer, arranger, music producer and TV producer.

Seated next to Jones was Badr Jafar, President of Crescent Petroleum and  Global Gumbo Group. Jafar and Jones produced the sensational song called Bokra together, which received nearly 10 million views on YouTube. Jafar talked about the topic of cultural diplomacy and specifically how music is a universal language that needs to be used in a more effective way.

Jafar stated, “Quincy like myself is a huge believer in the power of cultural diplomacy, being able to use the arts to bridge cultures and to bring people together. As Quincy puts it music has no religion, no race, no colour, no age, it is a very powerful universal language and I personally also believe that we must use this language a lot better and more effectively in this region to communicate with the rest of the world.”

Many students and faculty members asked many questions to Jones. Among them were:

Dr Victoria Amador, a Professor of English Language at the American University of Sharjah.

Could you share with us one of the most important or cherished experiences that you have had in your career working with somebody who really absolutely lifted you up?

“After working with Billie Holiday, Cab Callaway, Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Aretha Franklin, Paul Simon, Frank Sinatra, too many people it is very difficult, Dinah Washington. I was very very blessed, because you can't plan this at all. I did not have a mother when I was young, so I said to myself that I would make music my mother and it never let me down and I was fortunate to work with every innovative giant in the history of American music and it is a great feeling …”

Rana Hasan, a student at the American University of Sharjah who studies journalism, music and theatre:

What was it like to be listed among other people in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

“Well you're going to be surprised with my answer, nothing … after the 27 Grammys, Emmys, Oscars it's hard to get excited about it …”

Hussain Fakhruddin, a student at the American University of Sharjah who studies Chemistry with a minor in theatre:

The UAE is developing at a real fast pace so what would be your advice for its young generation in terms of building culture?

“Well mine of course is music, and I learned very early that with music there is always a left brain and right brain and that is emotion and intellect. So it is a gift, but God gives you that talent so you have to give God back a lot of work …to put work back into understanding the science of your core skill …”

Quincy Jones is not only an impeccable icon in the music industry, but also he is a role model and inspirational figure to many people around the world. He has motivated many people during his lifetime to follow their dreams and certainly motivated many students at the American University of Sharjah to follow theirs.

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