156+ Best David Bowie Quotes: Exclusive Selection

David Robert Jones, known professionally as David Bowie, was an English singer-songwriter and actor. He was a leading figure in the music industry and is considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, acclaimed by critics and musicians, particularly for his innovative work during the 1970s. Profoundly inspirational David Bowie quotes will challenge the way you think, and help guide you through any life experience.

If you’re searching for inspirational quotes by musicians that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of quotes from Demi Lovato, powerful Frank Ocean quotes and famous George Harrison quotes.

Famous David Bowie Quotes

Strangely, some songs you really don’t want to write. – David Bowie

Tomorrow belongs to those who can hear it coming. – David Bowie

If you feel safe in the area you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth. And when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting. – David Bowie

Religion is for people who fear hell, spirituality is for people who have been there. – David Bowie

You can’t put down anybody. You can just try and understand. The emphasis shouldn’t be on revolution, it should be on communication. Because it’s just going to get more uptight. The more the revolution goes on, and there will be a civil war sooner or later. – David Bowie

I re-invented my image so many times that I’m in denial that I was originally an overweight Korean woman. – David Bowie

I had enormous self-image, problems and very low self-esteem, which I hid behind obsessive writing and performing. It’s exactly what I do now except I enjoy it now. I’m not driven like I was in my twenties. I was driven to get through life very quickly. – David Bowie

I think that the history of rock could be recycled in a different way and brought back into focus without the luggage that comes along with it. – David Bowie

I don’t have stylistic loyalty. That’s why people perceive me changing all the time. But there is a real continuity in my subject matter. As an artist of artifice, I do believe I have more integrity than any one of my contemporaries. – David Bowie

Hey man, I gotta straighten my face. This mellow thighed chick just put my spine out of place. – David Bowie

If I wasn’t going through a thing where I was also being my characters offstage, uh, I’m much happier just wearing the most low-profile things that I can come up with just so I can get down the street. – David Bowie

When you think about it, Adolf Hitler was the first pop star. – David Bowie

As you get older, the questions come down to about two or three. How long? And what do I do with the time I’ve got left? – David Bowie

It’s odd but even when I was a kid, I would write about ‘old and other times’ as though I had a lot of years behind me. Now I do, so there is a difference in the weight of memory. – David Bowie

A career of nearly 40 years, is not very long. – David Bowie

I would like to believe that people knew what they were fighting for and why they wanted a revolution, and exactly what it was within that they didn’t like. – David Bowie

In fact, everything I do is about the conceptualizing and realization of a piece of work, whether it’s the recording or the performance side. – David Bowie

I made a more mature approach to industrial music. – David Bowie

I want people to hear musicians like Joe Cuba. He has done things to whole masses of Puerto Rican people. The music is fantastic and important. – David Bowie

If it works, it’s out of date. – David Bowie

I guess a certain contingent of the musicians in London at the beginning of the ’70s were fed up with denim and the hippies. And I think we kind of wanted to go somewhere else. – David Bowie

I wanted to rewrite how rock music was perceived. – David Bowie

I rate Morrissey as one of the best lyricists in Britain. For me, he’s up there with Bryan Ferry. – David Bowie

Trying to tart the rock business up a bit is getting nearer to what the kids themselves are like, because what I find, if you want to talk in the terms of rock, a lot depends on sensationalism and the kids are a lot more sensational than the stars themselves. – David Bowie

I suppose for me as an artist it wasn’t always just about expressing my work; I really wanted, more than anything else, to contribute in some way to the culture that I was living in. It just seemed like a challenge to move it a little bit towards the way I thought it might be interesting to go. – David Bowie

I’m not a natural performer. I don’t like performing very much. – David Bowie

Rather than really have, like a close relationship to anything that’s coming out today, people are just, they’ve got it on as background music. It’s kind of the same way the cabdrivers use music; it’s very disposable. – David Bowie

I think that we have created a new kind of person in a way. We have created a child who will be so exposed to the media that he will be lost to his parents by the time he is 12. – David Bowie

I couldn’t stand to be separated with my wife for months. It became quickly apparent to me that I needed to find a balance between my absolute work obsession and a private life that we could share without my disappearing all the time. – David Bowie

There’s a terror in knowing what the world is about – David Bowie

Music itself is going to become like running water or electricity. So it’s like, just take advantage of these last few years because none of this is ever going to happen again. You’d better be prepared for doing a lot of touring because that’s really the only unique situation that’s going to be left. – David Bowie

It makes me sad when I see artists who come alive when they go onstage, because, gee, I really come alive when I’m home. – David Bowie

I’ll place my love beneath the stars. – David Bowie

I met my wife because we were both going out with the same guy. – David Bowie

I never heard so many kids talk about just doing anything to be famous. I mean, yeah, fame is part of the deal when you’re a kid and you think, I wanna go into music, but everybody that I knew was really doing it because of their love for it. I don’t see so much of that anymore. – David Bowie

The name Bowie just appealed to me when I was younger. I was into a kind of heavy philosophy thing when I was 16 years old, and I wanted a truism about cutting through the lies and all that. – David Bowie

Fame can take interesting men and thrust mediocrity upon them. – David Bowie

People look to me to see what the spirit of the Seventies is. – David Bowie

They [people] mistake fashion for style. – David Bowie

You can begin really looking for a relationship . . . when you can (appreciate) the whole concept of giving to someone, not just taking. – David Bowie

There’s a starman waiting in the sky, he’d like to come and meet us, but he thinks he’d blow our minds. – David Bowie

I’m looking for backing for an unauthorized auto-biography that I am writing. Hopefully, this will sell in such huge numbers that I will be able to sue myself for an extraordinary amount of money and finance the film version in which I will play everybody. – David Bowie

There’s a thing that just as you go to sleep, if you keep your elbows elevated that you will never go below the dream stage. And I’ve used that quite a lot and it keeps me dreaming much longer than if I just relaxed. – David Bowie

I think fame itself is not a rewarding thing. The most you can say is that it gets you a seat in restaurants. – David Bowie

The only art I’ll ever study is stuff I can steal from. – David Bowie

I surrounded myself with people who indulged my ego. They treated me as though I was Ziggy Stardust or one of my characters, never realizing that David Jones might be behind it. – David Bowie

You would think that a rock star being married to a super-model would be one of the greatest things in the world. It is. – David Bowie

I am a moderately good singer. I am not a great singer, but I can interpret a song, which I don’t think is quite the same as singing it. – David Bowie

I’ve always been very chauvinistic, even in my boy-obsessed days. But I was always a gentleman. I always treated my boys like real ladies. Always escorted them properly and, in fact, I suppose if I were a lot older – like 40 or 50 – I’d be a wonderful sugar daddy to some little queen down in Kensington. I’d have a houseboy named Richard to order around. – David Bowie

It always felt like you were trying too hard to look like the audience or something. That whole thing about the artistic integrity, which, of course, I’ve never bought into – with any artist. It’s just not a real thing. – David Bowie

I’m an instant star. Just add water and stir. – David Bowie

Of course, we found out later Syd Barrett had mental problems. But there was something so otherworldly about him. He was hovering, like, six inches above the ground. – David Bowie

Don’t you love the Oxford Dictionary? When I first read it, I thought it was a really really long poem about everything. – David Bowie

You can neither win nor lose if you don’t run the race – David Bowie

I don’t make changes to confuse anyone. I’m just searching. That’s what causes me to change. I’m just searching for myself. – David Bowie

If I never wake again, I certainly will have lived while I was alive. – David Bowie

I find only freedom in the realms of eccentricity. – David Bowie

One day I realized that I really needed to stop losing myself in my work and in my addictions. What happens is you just wake up one morning and feel absolutely dead. You can’t even drag your soul back into your body. You feel you have negated everything that is wonderful about life. When you have fallen that far, it feels like a miracle when you regain your love of life. That’s when you can begin really looking for a relationship. When you can appreciate the whole concept of giving to someone, not just taking. – David Bowie

The Internet is merely a new means of communication, that’s all it is. It serves the purpose of getting information, which it is fantastic at. I mean, I live by the Internet in terms of research and it’s incredible – there’s nothing that you can’t find out about. It’s not stopped me going to bookshops, but I must say that I don’t go into as many because any book I want. – David Bowie

The minute you know you’re on safe ground, you’re dead. – David Bowie

I’m a thinker not a talker. – David Bowie

It’s only forever… Not long at all. – David Bowie

And these children that you spit on as they try to change their worlds are immune to your consultations. They’re quite aware of what they’re going through. – David Bowie

Everything we look at and choose is some way of expressing how we want to be perceived. – David Bowie

I suspect that dreams are an integral part of existence, with far more use for us than we’ve made of them…The fine line between the dream state and reality is at times, for me, quite grey. – David Bowie

Put on your red shoes and dance the blues. – David Bowie

I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring. – David Bowie

If you come from art, you’ll always be art. – David Bowie

There, in the chords and melodies, is everything I want to say. The words just jolly it along. It’s always been my way of expressing what for me is inexpressible by any other means. – David Bowie

The end comes when the infinites arrive. – David Bowie

You write down a paragraph or two describing several different subjects creating a kind of story ingredients-list, I suppose, and then cut the sentences into four or five-word sections; mix em up and reconnect them. You can get some pretty interesting idea combinations like this. You can use them as is or, if you have a craven need to not lose control, bounce off these ideas and write whole new sections. – David Bowie

Look up here, I’m in heaven. – David Bowie

I believe that I often bring out the best in somebody’s talents. – David Bowie

Questioning my spiritual life has always been germane to what I was writing. Always. It’s because I’m not quite an atheist and it worries me. There’s that little bit that holds on: ‘Well, I’m almost an atheist. Give me a couple of months.’ – David Bowie

Tony Visconti and I had been wanting to work together again for a few years now. Both of us had fairly large commitments and for a long time we couldn’t see a space in which we could get anything together. – David Bowie

It amazes me sometimes that even intelligent people will analyze a situation or make a judgement after only recognizing the standard or traditional structure of a piece. – David Bowie

Heathenism is a state of mind. You can take it that I’m referring to one who does not see his world. He has no mental light. He destroys almost unwittingly. He cannot feel any Gods presence in his life. He is the 21st century man. – David Bowie

The truth is of course is that there is no journey. We are arriving and departing all at the same time. – David Bowie

On the other hand, what I like my music to do to me is awaken the ghosts inside of me. Not the demons, you understand, but the ghosts. – David Bowie

I’ve never responded well to entrenched negative thinking. – David Bowie

Frankly, I mean, sometimes the interpretations I’ve seen on some of the songs that I’ve written are a lot more interesting than the input that I put in. – David Bowie

I feel confident imposing change on myself. It’s a lot more fun progressing than looking back. That’s why I need to throw curve balls. – David Bowie

I’m just an individual who doesn’t feel that I need to have somebody qualify my work in any particular way. I’m working for me. – David Bowie

I had to resign myself, many years ago, that I’m not too articulate when it comes to explaining how I feel about things. But my music does it for me, it really does. – David Bowie

I wanted to prove the sustaining power of music. – David Bowie

What I do is I write mainly about very personal and rather lonely feelings, and I explore them in a different way each time. You know, what I do is not terribly intellectual. I’m a pop singer for Christ’s sake. As a person, I’m fairly uncomplicated. – David Bowie

Confront a corpse at least once. The absolute absence of life is the most disturbing and challenging confrontation you will ever have. – David Bowie

Funk, I don’t think I have anything to do with funk. I’ve never considered myself funky. – David Bowie

I’m well past the age where I’m acceptable. You get to a certain age and you are forbidden access. You’re not going to get the kind of coverage that you would like in music magazines, you’re not going to get played on radio and you’re not going to get played on television. I have to survive on word of mouth. – David Bowie

And I saw the sax line-up that he had behind him and I thought, I’m going to learn the saxophone. When I grow up, I’m going to play in his band. So, I sort of persuaded my dad to get me a kind of a plastic saxophone on the hire purchase plan. – David Bowie

I wish myself to be a prop, if anything, for my songs. I want to be the vehicle for my songs. I would like to color the material with as much visual expression as is necessary for that song. – David Bowie

When I’m stuck for a closing to a lyric, I will drag out my last resort: overwhelming illogic. – David Bowie

Sometimes you stumble across a few chords that put you in a reflective place. – David Bowie

I’m very at ease, and I like it. I never thought I would be such a family-oriented guy; I didn’t think that was part of my makeup. But somebody said that as you get older you become the person you always should have been, and I feel that’s happening to me. I’m rather surprised at who I am, because I’m actually like my dad! – David Bowie

I’m very good at what I do, and I don’t turn my hand to something unless I’m very good at it, frankly. – David Bowie

I never thought I would be such a family-oriented guy; I didn’t think that was part of my makeup. But somebody said that as you get older, you become the person you always should have been, and I feel that’s happening to me. – David Bowie

Searching for music is like searching for God. They’re very similar. There’s an effort to reclaim the unmentionable, the unsayable, the unseeable, the unspeakable, all those things, comes into being a composer and to writing music and to searching for notes and pieces of musical information that don’t exist. – David Bowie

I went through all the musicians in my life who I admire as bright, intelligent, virtuosic players. – David Bowie

To not be modest about it, you’ll find that with only a couple of exceptions, most of the musicians that I’ve worked with have done their best work by far with me. – David Bowie

I don’t profess to have music as my big wheel and there are a number of other things as important to me apart from music. Theatre and mime, for instance. – David Bowie

But I’m pretty good with collaborative thinking. I work well with other people. – David Bowie

However, there’s no theme or concept behind Heathen, just a number of songs but somehow there is a thread that runs through it that is quite as strong as any of my thematic type albums. – David Bowie

I don’t see any boundaries between any of the art forms. I think they all inter-relate completely. – David Bowie

I guess, taking away all the theatrics or the costuming and the outer layers of what I do, I’m a writer… I write. – David Bowie

Being a hybrid maker off and on over the years, I’m very comfortable with the idea and have been the subject of quite a few pretty good mash-ups myself. – David Bowie

That’s the shock: All clichés are true. The years really do speed by. Life really is as short as they tell you it is. And there really is a God – so do I buy that one? If all the other clichés are true… Hell, don’t pose me that one. – David Bowie

I always had a repulsive need to be something more than human. – David Bowie

The humanists’ replacement for religion: work really hard and somehow, you’ll either save yourself or you’ll be immortal. Of course, that’s a total joke, and our progress is nothing. There may be progress in technology but there’s no ethical progress whatsoever. – David Bowie

I’ve made over 25 studio albums, and I think probably I’ve made two real stinkers in my time, and some not-bad albums, and some really good albums. I’m proud of what I’ve done. In fact, it’s been a good ride. – David Bowie

I think it all comes back to being very selfish as an artist. I mean, I really do just write and record what interests me, and I do approach the stage shows in much the same way. – David Bowie

I never could get over the fact that The Pixies formed, worked and separated without America taking them to its heart or even recognizing their existence for the most part. – David Bowie

The absolute transformation of everything that we ever thought about music will take place within 10 years, and nothing is going to be able to stop it. I see absolutely no point in pretending that it’s not going to happen. I’m fully confident that copyright, for instance, will no longer exist in 10 years. – David Bowie

I’m not a prophet or a stone aged man, just a mortal with potential of a superman. I’m living on. – David Bowie

Nearly all the synth work on Heathen is mine and some of the piano. – David Bowie

I felt I really wanted to back off from music completely and just work within the visual arts in some way. I started painting quite passionately at that time. – David Bowie

I change my mind a lot. I usually don’t agree with what I say very much. I’m an awful liar. – David Bowie

What I have is a malevolent curiosity. That’s what drives my need to write and what probably leads me to look at things a little askew. I do tend to take a different perspective from most people. – David Bowie

But I’ve got to think of myself as the luckiest guy. Robert Johnson only had one album’s worth of work as his legacy. That’s all that life allowed him. – David Bowie

I realized the other day that I’ve lived in New York longer than I’ve lived anywhere else. It’s amazing: I am a New Yorker. It’s strange; I never thought I would be. – David Bowie

Age doesn’t bother me. So many of my heroes were older guys. It’s the lack of years left that weighs far heavier on me than the age that I am. – David Bowie

I don’t like to read things that people write about me. I’d rather read what kids have to say about me, because it’s not their profession to do that. – David Bowie

I guess it’s flattering that everyone believed I was those characters, but it also is dehumanizing. – David Bowie

I’m not one of those guys that has a great worldview. I kind of deal with terror and fear and isolation and abandonment. – David Bowie

I’m rather kind of old school, thinking that when an artist does his work, it’s no longer his… I just see what people make of it. – David Bowie

The skin of my character in ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’ was some concoction, a spermatozoon of an alien nature that was obscene and weird-looking. – David Bowie

When I was 18, I thought that, to be a romantic, you couldn’t live past 30. – David Bowie

Anxiety and spiritual searching have been consistent themes with me, and that figures into my worldview. But I tend to make my songs sound like relationship songs. – David Bowie

As an adolescent, I was painfully shy, withdrawn. I didn’t really have the nerve to sing my songs on stage, and nobody else was doing them. I decided to do them in disguise so that I didn’t have to actually go through the humiliation of going on stage and being myself. – David Bowie

My son’s full real name is Duncan Zowie Haywood. As a toddler, he was called by his second name Zowie. But it was such an identifiable name during the Seventies that if I called him loudly in public places, everyone would turn to stare, so I started calling him Joey to take the pressure off. – David Bowie

For me, the world that I inhabit in reality is probably a very different world than the one people expect that I would be in. – David Bowie

Since the departure of good old-fashioned entertainers, the re-emergence of somebody who wants to be an entertainer has unfortunately become a synonym for camp. I don’t think I’m camper than any other person who felt at home on stage and felt more at home on stage than he did offstage. – David Bowie

Frankly, if I could get away with not having to perform, I’d be very happy. It’s not my favorite thing to do. – David Bowie

There’s a schizoid streak within the family anyway so I dare say that I’m affected by that. The majority of the people in my family have been in some kind of mental institution, as for my brother he doesn’t want to leave. He likes it very much. – David Bowie

These are all personal crises, I’m sure, that I manifest in a song format and project into physical situations. You make little stories up about how you feel. It’s as simple as that. – David Bowie

Once I’ve written something it does tend to run away from me. I don’t seem to have any part of it – it’s no longer my piece of writing. – David Bowie

For me, often, there’s such a cloud of melancholia about knowing I’m going to have to leave my daughter on her own. I don’t know what age that is going to be, thank God. It just doubles me up in grief. – David Bowie

I’ve always regretted that I never was able to talk openly with my parents, especially with my father. I’ve heard and read so many things about my family that I can no longer believe anything; every relative I question has a completely different story from the last. – David Bowie

There’s a good television program called ‘Disco 2.’ It’s quite good but again it’s average, average. It’s all on a downplay. You know we’ve got this thing in England to be hip is to speak very down – like John Peel. And that just about sums up England. They don’t realize when they talk like that, then that is what they represent – absolutely. – David Bowie

Radio in England is nonexistent. It’s very bad English use of a media system, typically English use. – David Bowie

Pixies and Sonic Youth were so important to the eighties. – David Bowie

I was never particularly fond of my voice. – David Bowie

All art really does is keep you focused on questions of humanity, and it really is about how do we get on with our maker. – David Bowie

Even though I was very shy, I found I could get onstage if I had a new identity. – David Bowie

Art was, seriously, the only thing I’d ever wanted to own. It has always been for me a stable nourishment. I use it. It can change the way that I feel in the mornings. – David Bowie

I couldn’t have written things like ‘Low’ and ‘Heroes,’ those particular albums, if it hadn’t have been for Berlin and the kind of atmosphere I felt there. – David Bowie

I do some kind of work, whether writing or painting or recording, on a daily basis. And it’s so essential that when I’m involved in the actual process, my so-called ‘real life’ becomes almost incidental, which becomes worrying. – David Bowie

The Americans at heart are a pure and noble people; things to them are in black and white. It’s either ‘rawk’ or it’s not. We Brits putter around in the grey area. – David Bowie

There are times when I prefer a cerebral moment with an artist, and I’ll just enjoy the wit of a Picabia or a Duchamp. It amuses me that they thought that what they did would be a good way of making art. – David Bowie

When I heard Little Richard, I mean, it just set my world on fire. – David Bowie

I never really felt like a rock singer or a rock star or whatever. – David Bowie

I wanted to imbue Ziggy with real flesh and blood and muscle, and it was imperative that I find Ziggy and be him. – David Bowie

I’ll tell you who I absolutely adore: Ian McEwan. – David Bowie

What I like to do is try to make a difference with the work I do. – David Bowie

It is amazing how a new child can refocus one’s direction seconds after its birth. – David Bowie

All Montreal bands have around nine members, I believe. – David Bowie

All my big mistakes are when I try to second-guess or please an audience. My work is always stronger when I get very selfish about it. – David Bowie

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