I propose that the best way to honor the inimitable Quincy Jones, my father, on his 80th birthday is not to discuss his unmatched career. It would be a simplification to acknowledge only the man who produced the best-selling album of all time and the best-selling single of all time.
And although we would like to reduce a lifetime of accomplishment to the 27 Grammy Awards, seven Oscar nominations and numerous lifetime achievement awards, we shouldn’t.
No, the most important contribution my dad has given this world is the life he lives. We have seen many a genius who is unable to cope with the simple task of living in the world. That is not my dad. His greatest art is his humanity. His remarkable ability to make everyone he meets feel like they are the only person he has ever met. His unpretentious approach to connection and conversation. His genuine, insatiable curiosity and respect for all people he comes into contact with. He continues to astound me. Daily.
In my 20s, my dad gave me the advice: “Make decisions based on love and not fear.” It’s something I return to constantly in navigating the waters of my own life. The reason it resonates so strongly is because my dad walks that walk. He lives in love. He celebrates every Christmas, Thanksgiving and Father’s Day with his seven children, six grandchildren, closest friends, and amazingly, most of his children’s mothers. I don’t know anyone else who can pull that off.
He travels constantly, has friends in every country in the world, yet he manages to value his experiences and relationships in a way that bears no trace of the complacency and cynicism.
He is still excited by music and business opportunity and technology and the next generation of artists. He lives in the light and he reflects that light so brightly. And he shines brightest as a father and a friend.
My dad is an enormous beating heart. I am deeply honored to consider myself the daughter of the best role model on earth.
Happy birthday, Daddy. I love you without end.
Jones stars on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” and just signed an overall writing and production deal with WB television.