You know what we pride ourselves on that - although I wouldn't mind if my backside was a little smaller. But look at the original divas... take Aretha Franklin for example - I've seen her live in the States and she was mammoth, but she had that crowd under control and they doted on every movement she made! We're not little midgets but the music industry is not about that, it's about loving the music and respecting what you do.
Tentatively I stood a great lump of wood on the chopping block and bought the axe down on it. It flew into two perfect halves. Such was my elation that I ran inside, put on our ancient cracked record of Aretha Franklin singing Respect and danced all by myself for half an hour in our living room, without inhibition, almost crying with jubilation – not just about the wood, but because I could live competently some of the time, and because that day I liked myself.
People like Clyde McPhatter who came out of the black churches - like Sam Cooke and Aretha Franklin - were all church singers who became great pop singers because gospel singing is very close to the blues.
Most importantly for me growing up, it was a spirituals, it was a gospels, it was James Cleveland, Aretha Franklin, Marion Williams; and then it was Curtis Mayfield - The Main Ingredient, The Whispers, Black Blue Magic, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Luther Vandross - that music helped me preserves my sanity, help me preserve whatever dignity I was able to preserve, helping to keep going. It was a source of tremendous strength in my life.
Find a beautiful piece of art. If you fall in love with Van Gogh or Matisse or John Oliver Killens, or if you fall love with the music of Coltrane, the music of Aretha Franklin, or the music of Chopin - find some beautiful art and admire it, and realize that that was created by human beings just like you, no more human, no less.
I'm very glad my mother didn't let me quit piano lessons at age 10. She said I wasn't old enough or good enough to make that decision, and she was right. I remember at the time I was shocked. I did not like that my mother said those things to me. But when I got a chance to play with Yo-Yo Ma or more recently with Aretha Franklin, I thought, I'm really glad she said what she did.