Ray Charles was an inspiration as a musician and songwriter, and even more so as a human being. Here are some of his famous quotes.

  1. I started to sing like myself — as opposed to imitating Nat Cole, which I had done for a while — when I started singing like Ray Charles, it had this spiritual and churchy, this religious or gospel sound. It had this holiness and preachy tone to it. It was very controversial. I got a lot of criticism for it.
  2. Do it right or don't do it at all. That comes from my mom. If there's something I want to do, I'm one of those people that won't be satisfied until I get it done. If I'm trying to sing something and I can't get it, I'm going to keep at it until I get where I want it.
  3. The fact of the matter is, you don't give up what's natural. Anything I've fantasized about, I've done.
  4. Affluence separates people. Poverty knits 'em together. You got some sugar and I don't; I borrow some of yours. Next month you might not have any flour; well, I'll give you some of mine.
  5. I was born with music inside me. Music was one of my parts. Like my ribs, my kidneys, my liver, my heart. Like my blood. It was a force already within me when I arrived on the scene. It was a necessity for me, like food or water.
  6. Love is a special word, and I use it only when I mean it. You say the word too much and it becomes cheap.
  7. Music has been around a long time, and there's going to be music long after Ray Charles is dead. I just want to leave my mark, leave something musically good behind.
  8. Music is nothing separate from me. It is me... You'd have to remove the music surgically.
  9. My music had roots which I'd dug up from my own childhood, musical roots buried in the darkest soil.
  10. What is a soul? It's like electricity — we don't really know what it is, but it's a force that can light a room.
  11. You better live every day like your last because one day you're going to be right.