Paul McCartney says he always puts his art before his business.
McCartney has been an active musician for more than 60 years. He released Egypt Station in Sept. 2018 and it became his first chart-topping album in 36 years.
The Beatles icon speaks with Billboard for the publication’s 125th anniversary. He explains how his longevity as a musician is due, in part, to keeping his focus primarily on his art.
“I’ve got so much brain, and 90 per cent of it has to be free for songs and art,” McCartney says. “If I block that out with finance, I’m sunk. So 10 per cent of me can think about where we’re going, but I keep the rest open to do various artistic things”
“When you do something, you kind of do it for yourself,” he says of Egypt Station. “But at the same time, you want people to hear it and judge whether it’s any good.”
He also attributes The Beatles’ growth and success to that sort of meticulous attention to art.
“We’d do one song, and it’d be a hit, and instead of doing another with the same formula, we’d say, ‘OK, we’ve done that,'” McCartney explains. “You listen to The Beatles’ output and no two songs are alike.”
The 125th anniversary special of Billboard hits newsstands on Saturday.