Ahmir Questlove's Open Road


The Roots

“I don't know if anyone who's truly successful feels a sense of completion. I think it's just a constant mission to stay ahead.”


Art Music


Choices Planning Values Chance Opportunity Risk Doubt Focus Pressure Dedication Fulfillment Goals Hard Work Passion Success Money & Financial Security Societal Pressures


Being Creative


  • Started drumming at the age of two, got his first drum set when he was eight.
  • Would practice three to five hours every day as a kid.
  • Heard Grammy-winner Wynton Marsalis say he practiced eight hours a day and knew he had to step it up.
  • The Roots started out busking on the streets of Philadelphia, felt lucky if they made twenty dollars in a day.
  • After signing their first contract, band moved to Europe to tour, spent nights in two-star hotels.
  • Says he works an average of 18-20 hours a day-like a hamster, he's always spinning his wheel.
  • Treats each new year like a game of Russian Roulette: take a risk, see if you make it through, take another.
  • Stresses the importance of "proper planning"-like a chess player, always be thinking 12 steps ahead.

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