When I came to California, it was the mecca of the world. Every young person on the planet wanted to be here.

I don't like being too looked up at or too looked down on. I prefer meeting in the middle to being worshiped or spat out.

My individual, psychological descent coincided, ironically, with my ascent into the public eye.

The considerations of a corporation, especially now, have nothing to do with art or music.

I find a lot of poetry to be narcissistic.

Buddy Holly and the early rock 'n' roll was no lighter than the way I play. It's very minimal.

Not to dismiss Gershwin, but Gershwin is the chip; Ellington was the block.

There are things to confess that enrich the world, and things that need not be said.

For the first time in my career, I'm working in a fine-arts arena, so I'm finally getting some intelligent reviews.

The Beginning of Survival is my best album. I am very proud of it, and I am surprised at it, too. I thought some of Travelogue was a little heavy, but I don't think this is heavy.

There was this mountain village in Russia where my music was getting in on some German radio station. I remember this because music used to get up to Saskatchewan from Texas. Late at night after the local station closed down.

An unhappy mother does not raise a happy child.

I do have this reputation for being a serious person.

My first four albums covered the usual youth problems - looking for love in all the wrong places - while the next five are basically about being in your 30s.

I conceived in art college at the age of 20, near the end of term.

Drag wasn't always counterculture.

I hate show business.

I used to be monastic, almost. Now I'm like a Tibetan that has discovered hamburgers and television. I'm catching up on Americana.

People used to say nobody can sing my songs but me - they're too personal.

I think I would go further into fine arts, I think, if I were to continue.

What I do is unusual: chordal movements that have never been used before, changing keys and modalities mid-song.

I couldn't see passion as a bad thing.

I don't like to make fluffy little songs, but now I want to make some light songs.

In some ways, my gift for music and writing was born out of tragedy, really, and loss.

White rhythm is waltzes, marches, and the polka. In Africa, rhythm is used for a celebratory groove, but white rhythm doesn't have such an enormous vocabulary of spirits. It's basically militant.

I don't understand why Europeans and South Americans can take more sophistication. Why is it that Americans need to hear their happiness major and their tragedy minor, and as jazzy as they can handle is a seventh chord? Are they not experiencing complex emotions?

In terms of fiction, I'd rather go out and have a good time than read a book about someone having a good or bad time.

My parents told me I'd point to a bed of flowers and say 'Pink. Pretty,' before I knew any other words.

I'm a Buddhist.

In New York, the street adventures are incredible. There are a thousand stories in a single block. You see the stories in the people's faces. You hear the songs immediately. Here in Los Angeles, there are less characters because they're all inside automobiles.

I'd had a rough childhood.

At the point where I'm trying to force something and it's not happening, and I'm getting frustrated with, say, writing a poem, I can go and pick up the brushes and start painting. At the point where the painting seems to not be going anywhere, I go and pick up the guitar.

I've got 50 different tunings in the guitar.

Edith Piaf knocked my socks off when I was 8, but I didn't know what she was singing about.

You wake up one day and suddenly realize that your youth is behind you, even though you're still young at heart.

This is a nation that has lost the ability to be self-critical, and that makes a lie out of the freedoms.

Fame is a series of misunderstandings surrounding a name.

Eventually, with success, I started to feel more and more isolated - like I didn't have a community of artists.

When the world becomes a massive mess with nobody at the helm, it's time for artists to make their mark.

I came through folk music simply because it was easy to get into it.

It's in my stars to invent; I was born on Madame Curie's birthday. I have this need for originals, for innovation. That's why I like Charlie Parker.

I believe that I am male and I am female.

Ira Gershwin, shame on him. I mean, some of the writing.

We managed to put together a compilation that had some creativity to it. In the meantime I was listening to the free radio stations and I noticed that during their war coverage they were playing these songs born out of the Vietnam War that were all critical of the soldiers.

I learned a woman is never an old woman.

I lost my daughter at 21. I had to give her up because I was broke, no place to take her, no money to take her. That was very traumatic.

I know my generation - a lot of them, they're getting old now, and they want to think back fondly, they want to kid themselves. A lot of them think, 'Yeah, we were the best.' That's the kiss of death. That's non-growth. And also that's very bad for the world.

I always thought the women of song don't get along, and I don't know why that is.

To enjoy my music, you need depth and emotionality.