Everyone’s Gotta Make a Living

Philip Glass performs at the Archa Theatre in Prague, Czech Republic, November 9, 2016. Photo/Michal Krumphanzl (CTK via AP Images)

Lolade Fadulu’s Atlantic interview with composer Philip Glass is open, lighthearted, and generally delightful. Before making his living entirely through music, Glass worked as a plumber, a mover, a taxi driver — and as a child, as a clerk in his father’s record store, where he learned a lesson that’s stuck with him.

Fadulu: Did you work in your dad’s record store at all?

Glass: Oh, yes. Oh yes, yes, yes, yes. From the age of 12. It wasn’t considered child labor. It was a family business. At the beginning, all my brother and I did were the inventories, and we moved the records around. But we eventually got to know the business pretty well.

To this day, among my earliest memories was someone would give my father $5 and he’d hand them a record. So the exchange of money for art, I thought that was normal. I thought that’s what everybody did. I never thought there was anything wrong about making money.

Read the interview