Soul legend Bill Withers is the subject of a new documentary, Still Bill. In it, the artist talks about success in the commercial world.
From an interview about the movie on All Things Considered from National Public Radio:
“One of the things I always tell my kids is, you know, it’s okay to head out for wonderful, but on your way to wonderful, you’re going to have to pass through all right, and when you get to all right, take a good look around and get used to it, because that may be as far as you’re going to go.” -Bill Withers
NPR’S Melissa Block: Was he talking about his kids or was he talking about himself there?
Damini Baker (Filmmaker, “Still Bill”): Both, absolutely. You know, he started in the business very late in life. He was a man who had lived in West Virginia, moved and joined the Navy. He had this life before becoming a soul icon. And so on his way to wonderful, for him, I think, wonderful, he didn’t know what that was yet, but he was okay with everything he had accomplished up to that point.
NPR’S Melissa Block: Wonderful can actually be more than some people can handle, and he suggests that also, that there was quite a cost.
“I became very interested: Can I still stay in this business and be effective and make a living and not have to play this fame game? I wasn’t any good at it. The fame game was kickin’ my ass.” -Bill Withers