50 David Byrne Quotes That Truly Inspire

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Which are your favorite David Byrne quotes?

David Byrne is a Scottish-American musician, actor, filmmaker, and writer. He is best known for being a founding member of the renowned American new wave band, the ‘Talking Heads’.

Along with his fellow bandmates, his group became one of the most critically acclaimed bands in the 1980s and got inducted into the ‘Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’.

Byrne has also ventured into the film industry. He has successfully written, directed, and also starred in the movie ‘True Stories’ and made several appearances in the widely celebrated reality TV show ‘Saturday Night Live’.

Throughout his career in the entertainment industry, Byrne has received many prestigious awards such as the ‘Grammy Award’ and ‘Golden Globe Award’.

Here’s a collection of the most inspirational David Byrne quotes:


50 David Byrne Quotes That Truly Inspire

1. “I found music to be the therapy of choice.” – David Byrne

2. “You create a community with music, not just at concerts but by talking about it with your friends.” – David Byrne

3. “PowerPoint may not be of any use for you in a presentation, but it may liberate you in another way, an artistic way. Who knows.” – David Byrne

4. “Sometimes it’s a form of love just to talk to somebody that you have nothing in common with and still be fascinated by their presence.” – David Byrne

5. “Sometimes the European and North American public like some things to be exotic and kept at arm’s length. They don’t want sometimes to know that foreign artists are doing something that’s at least as relevant as what’s being done here.” – David Byrne

6. “It seemed [there are] musical nodes on the planet where cultures meet and mix, sometimes as a result of unfortunate circumstances, like slavery or something else, in places like New Orleans and Havana and Brazil. And those are places where the European culture and indigenous culture and African culture all met and lived together, and some new kind of culture and especially music came out of that.” – David Byrne

7. “There are a lot of people that don’t scour websites regularly or read music reviews. They need whatever, the other kinds of stuff, whether it’s an appearance on Letterman or posters or ads. They need to kind of be hit more in the face and be told that there’s something new out there.” – David Byrne

8. “Do I wear a helmet? Ugh. I do when I’m riding through a precarious part of town, meaning Midtown traffic. But when I’m riding on securely protected lanes or on the paths that run along the Hudson or through Central Park – no, I don’t wear the dreaded helmet then.” – David Byrne

9. “The very best [infographics] engender and facilitate an insight by visual means — allow us to grasp some relationship quickly and easily that otherwise would take many pages and illustrations and tables to convey. Insight seems to happen most often when data sets are crossed in the design of the piece — when we can quickly see the effects on something over time, for example, or view how factors like income, race, geography, or diet might affect other data. When that happens, there’s an instant “Aha!”…” – David Byrne


10th of 50 David Byrne Quotes

10. “I’m being probably naïve, but I would like to think that once something moves you and you have an emotional involvement with it, and you see some relevance in it to your own life, then it’s a little bit harder, maybe, to look at the people that produced it as being just exotic others that don’t have any connection to you or relevance to you.” – David Byrne


11. “As music becomes less of a thing–a cylinder, a cassette, a disc–and more ephemeral, perhaps we will begin to assign an increasing value to live performances again.” – David Byrne

12. “I find rebellion packaged by a major corporation a little hard to take seriously.” – David Byrne

13. “By the time Talking Heads were starting, my feeling was to throw out everything and start from scratch on stage; strip it down to as close to zero as you can get, and then you can make it yours.” – David Byrne

14. “So there’s no guarantee if you like the music you will empathize with the culture and the people who made it. It doesn’t necessarily happen. I think it can, but it doesn’t necessarily happen. Which is kind of a shame.” – David Byrne

15. “Creative work is more accurately a machine that digs down and finds stuff, emotional stuff that will someday be the raw material that can be used to produce more stuff, stuff like itself – clay to be available for future use.” – David Byrne

16. “There’s still a feeling that uncensored emotions make a good song. They don’t. Pure emotion is just somebody screaming at you, or crying. It doesn’t communicate anything.” – David Byrne

17. “Cycling is a joy and faster than many other modes of transport, depending on the time of day. It clears the head.” – David Byrne

18. “Software constraints are only confining if you use them for what they’re intended to be used for.” – David Byrne

19. “Deep down, I know I have this intuition or instinct that a lot of creative people have, that their demons are also what makes them create.” – David Byrne


20th of 50 David Byrne Quotes

20. “I really enjoy forgetting. When I first come to a place, I notice all the little details. I notice the way the sky looks. The color of white paper. The way people walk. Doorknobs. Everything. Then I get used to the place and I don’t notice those things anymore. So only by forgetting can I see the place again as it really is.” – David Byrne


21. “There are plenty of people who are, I think, completely racist who love hip-hop.” – David Byrne

22. “I wanted to be a secret agent and an astronaut, preferably at the same time.” – David Byrne

23. “I like to combine the dramatic emotional warmth of strings with the grooves and body business of drums and bass.” – David Byrne

24. “I’m just an advertisement for a version of myself.” – David Byrne

25. “The assumption is that your personal life has to be a mess to create, but how much chaos can you allow in before it takes over?” – David Byrne

26. “To some extent I happily don’t know what I’m doing. I feel that it’s an artist’s responsibility to trust that.” – David Byrne

27. “I don’t care how impossible it seems.” – David Byrne

28. “Some things, I feel like no, I never could have the depth of experience of their own music and culture – but sometimes if I’m collaborating with somebody, they’re interested in me bringing my own stuff into their thing, and sometimes that works.” – David Byrne

29. “There’s a great temptation to clean everything up and make everything more perfect. You have to know when to stop and stop doing it, or you might end up with something that sounds metronomic.” – David Byrne


30th of 50 David Byrne Quotes

30. “I like a good story and I also like staring at the sea– do I have to choose between the two?” – David Byrne


31. “I try to devote my afternoons to making music in my home studio, but it’s a lot more fun hanging out with musicians and friends and trying subtly to influence a band than making your own stuff.” – David Byrne

32. “I think sometimes I get carried away like I’m speaking to an imaginary audience rather than just trying to figure something out for myself. Ideally, I try to balance that – that I’m asking these questions of myself, how does this work, why does this happen, what’s going on here.” – David Byrne

33. “With music, you often don’t have to translate it. It just affects you, and you don’t know why.” – David Byrne

34. “Music is relegated to an underground, relatively obscure group of listeners. It’s partly because of the nature of the medium. With a piece of visual art, you can look at something ugly, brutal, and in your face, but it’s kind of – there it is. It doesn’t take you over in the same way that putting on the music at a certain volume does.” – David Byrne

35. “A lot of that worked itself out in the recording.” – David Byrne

36. “I’m really curious how the private listening – iPods, people listening on their phones – how that might eventually affect music. There’ll be a whole genre of music that really works on a kind of one to one headphone or earbud level but doesn’t really work when you play it in a room.” – David Byrne

37. “People in Latin America… love America from afar and emulate America in some ways but also hate a lot of things that America does to them.” – David Byrne

38. “I couldn’t talk to people face to face, so I got on stage and started screaming and squealing and twitching.” – David Byrne

39. “There’s more good music being made now than ever before.” – David Byrne


40th of 50 David Byrne Quotes

40. “I’d been keeping tour diaries, and especially when I go somewhere where I felt the experience might be interesting, like Eastern Europe or South America or whatever, where the whole perception of what I was doing there and stuff that I was seeing and music I was hearing, I could put all that into a diary.” – David Byrne


41. “I try to write about small things. Paper, animals, a house…love is kind of big. I have written a love song, though. In this film, I sing it to a lamp.” – David Byrne

42. “There’s a pervasive feeling that when somebody sings a song and records a song on a record, that it’s their true feeling.” – David Byrne

43. “People are renovating places and opening ambitious new venues. That’s one thing that music does. It gets people out of their houses, and gets them hanging out together.” – David Byrne

44. “My favorite time of day is to get up and eat leftovers from dinner, especially spicy food.” – David Byrne

45. “Everything’s intentional. It’s just filling in the dots.” – David Byrne

46. “The most common music that you hear anywhere in the world now basically has its roots in that union that happened in the last century, or in the century before that. That kind of music that’s a groove or beat-oriented just didn’t exist in lots of cultures before that.” – David Byrne

47. “My opinion is that somebody certainly has the right to do cartoons that make fun of somebody else’s religion. But to reprint them just to provoke a fight and just to provoke it like thumbing your nose at someone else and going, “What are you gonna do about it?” – David Byrne

48. “I’ve rarely seen video screens used well in a music concert.” – David Byrne

49. “Suburban houses and tin sheds are often the objects of ridicule.” – David Byrne

50. “Sometimes I write stuff that strangely predicts what’s going to happen in my life.” – David Byrne



Thanks for checking out this collection of quotes from David Byrne! Don’t forget to share them on social media with your friends and family.

Which are your favorite David Byrne quotes? Leave a comment below.

Zisilia Alvsa
Zisilia Alvsa
Zisilia Alvsa is a writer for Wealthy Gorilla. Friends often call her Zii. She is a girl from Jakarta, Indonesia who currently lives in Bali. Zii loves photography and travelling.


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