These Janis Joplin quotes reveal how the singer felt about her rise to fame, life, and herself and others.
Janis Joplin is one of the most recognized names of her time. If you are a rock and roll or blues fan, you are likely a fan of this American singer and songwriter.
Joplin had an electrifying stage presence and a beautiful mezzo-soprano voice. She released two albums when she was the lead singer of a band called Big Brother and the Holding Company.
Some of her most popular songs include Mercedes Benz, Down on Me, and Ball and Chain. Before her stardom, she was just a girl from Port Arthur, Texas. She made friends with the outcasts, and her parents felt she needed a lot of attention.
She was bullied in high school and struggled with her self-image. This led to her struggles within her relationships, with both men and women, and drug use. Enjoy these Janis Joplin quotes!
Don’t forget to also check out these Jimi Hendrix quotes on peace, music and love.
1. “Singing, it’s like loving somebody, it’s a supreme emotional and physical experience.” ― Janis Joplin
2. “Being an intellectual creates a lot of questions and no answers. You can fill your life up with ideas and still go home lonely. All you really have that really matters are feelings. That’s what music is to me.” ― Janis Joplin
3. “On stage, I make love to twenty-five thousand people, and then I go home alone.” ― Janis Joplin
4. “When I sing, I feel like when you’re first in love. It’s more than sex. It’s that point two people can get to they call love when you really touch someone for the first time, but it’s gigantic, multiplied by the whole audience. I feel chills.” ― Janis Joplin
5. “Playing is just about feeling. Playing isn’t necessarily about misery. Playing isn’t necessarily about happiness. But it’s just about letting yourself feel all those things that you have already on the inside of you, but you’re all the time trying to push them aside because they don’t make for polite conversation or something.” ― Janis Joplin
6. “I read a story about some old opera singer once, and when a guy asked her to marry him, she took him backstage after she had sung a real triumph, with all the people calling for her, asked, ‘Do you think you could give me that?’ That story hit me right, man. I know no guy ever made me feel as good as an audience. I’m really far into this now, really committed. Like, I don’t think I’d go off the road for long now, for life with a guy no matter how good. Yeah, it’s the truth. Scary thing to say though, isn’t it?” ― Janis Joplin
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7. “I have to have the ‘umph.’ I’ve got to feel it because if it’s not getting through to me, the audience sure as hell aren’t going to feel it either.” ― Janis Joplin
8. “I can’t talk about my singing. I’m inside it. How can you describe something you’re inside of?” ― Janis Joplin
9. “When everything is together- the band, me, the audience, it’s boss! It’s just like magic.” ― Janis Joplin
10. “You can destroy your now by worrying about tomorrow.” ― Janis Joplin
11. “The more you live, the less you die.” ― Janis Joplin
12. “Being an intellectual creates a lot of questions and no answers.” ― Janis Joplin
13. “Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got.” ― Janis Joplin
14. “You can feel all things at once, so why not wear all things at once?” ― Janis Joplin
15. “You are what you settle for. You are only as much as you settle for.” ― Janis Joplin
16. “It’s hard to be free but when it works, it’s worth it!” ― Janis Joplin
17. “You know you’ve got it if it makes you feel good.” ― Janis Joplin
18. “You got to get it while you can.” ― Janis Joplin
19. “Freedom is just another word for when you have NOTHING left to lose.” ― Janis Joplin
20. “If you’ve got a today, don’t wear it tomorrow. Tomorrow never happens. It’s all the same day.” ― Janis Joplin
21. “Don’t go looking for Mr. Right. Look for Mr. Right Now.” ― Janis Joplin
22. “Wait a minute, maybe I can do anything.” ― Janis Joplin
23. “Rock on out.” ― Janis Joplin
24. “Honey, if you’ve had your eye on a piece of talent and that chick down the road has been getting all the action, then you know what you gotta do… Try A Little Bit Harder.” ― Janis Joplin
25. “I started singing rhythmically, and now I’m learning from Otis Redding to push a song instead of just sliding over it.” ― Janis Joplin
26. “I started out to be a person on the street, just like everybody else. I didn’t start out to be a singer. But I got sort of swept up in this singing thing, and after I got involved in it got really important to me if I was good or not.” ― Janis Joplin
27. “I always wanted to be an artist, whatever that was like other chicks want to be stewardesses. I read. I painted. I thought.” ― Janis Joplin
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28. “All of a sudden, someone threw me in front of this rock and roll band. And I decided then and there that was it. I never wanted to do anything else.” ― Janis Joplin
29. “I don’t know what happened. I just exploded. I’d never sung like that before. I used to stand still and sing simple, but you can’t sing like that in front of a rock band. You have to sing loud and move wild with all that in back of you. Now, I don’t know how to perform any other way.” ― Janis Joplin
30. “I had a lot of hurts and confusions. You know, it’s hard when you’re a kid to be different. You’re all full of things, and you don’t know what it’s about.” ― Janis Joplin
31. “You can’t stay in your hometown and play because the two people will get tired of seeing you.” ― Janis Joplin
32. “Why should I hold back now and sound mediocre, just so I can sound mediocre twenty years from now.” ― Janis Joplin
33. “I’d rather not sing than sing quiet.” ― Janis Joplin
34. “To be true to myself, to be the person that was on the inside of me, and not play games. That’s what I’m trying to do mostly in the whole world, is not bullshit myself and not bullshit anybody else.” ― Janis Joplin
35. “I’m just doing what I wanted to and what feels right and not settling for bullshit and it worked. How can they be mad at that?” ― Janis Joplin
36. “I’m not really thinking much… Just sort of, trying to feel.” ― Janis Joplin
37. “It used to make me unhappy, all that feeling. I just didn’t know what to do with it. But now I’ve learned how to make feeling work for me… I don’t know, I just want to feel as much as I can, it’s what ‘soul’ is all about.” ― Janis Joplin
38. “I think I think too much. That’s why I drink!” ― Janis Joplin
39. “I’m one of those regular weird people.” ― Janis Joplin
40. “Guess what, I might be the first hippie pinup girl.” ― Janis Joplin
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of motivational hippie quotes to inspire positivity.
41. “If I hold back, I’m no good. I’m no good. I’d rather be good sometimes, than holding back all the time.” ― Janis Joplin
42. “Oh, Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz – My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.” ― Janis Joplin
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43. “You know why we’re stuck with the myth that only black people have souls? Because white people don’t let themselves feel things.” ― Janis Joplin
44. “I’ve been looking around, and I noticed something: how much you really need to be loved. Ambition isn’t just a desperate quest for positions or money. It’s just love – lots of love.” ― Janis Joplin
45. “Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin. Now, they are so subtle, they can milk you with two notes. They can make you feel like they told you the whole universe. But I don’t know that yet. All I got now is strength. Maybe if I keep singing, maybe I’ll get it.”― Janis Joplin
46. “Audiences like their blues singers to be miserable.” ― Janis Joplin
47. “As it gets closer and more probable, being a star is really losing its meaning.” ― Janis Joplin
48. “At least we know we tend to be afraid. If you object to my plural noun, I’ll retract it.” ― Janis Joplin
49. “What we’ve had to do is learn to control success, put it in perspective, and not lose the essence of what we’re doing- the music.” ― Janis Joplin
50. “I want a bigger band with higher highs, a bigger ladder. And I want more bottom – I want an incredible amount of bottom. I want more noise. When I do a rock tune I want it to be so HUGE…” ― Janis Joplin
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By August of 1969, both Janis and her lover Peggy Caserta were addicted to Heroin. The night she died, she was supposed to have a menage a trois with Caserta and Seth Morgan. Both people ended up not spending time with her beforehand and bailing on the plan. She was disappointed; she mentioned it to the drug dealer who sold her the dose she would OD on later that night.
The official cause of death was a Heroin overdose, likely exacerbated by the amount of alcohol Janis had consumed. She was found on the floor of her bathroom and joined Jimi Hendrix, who had died 16 days before, at the age of 27. Fans and people within the music industry were devastated, and the world lost an original voice. She also could captivate her audience and leave them, begging for more.
What’s your biggest takeaway from these Janis Joplin quotes and sayings? Let us know your thoughts below. Feel free to also share your favorite Janis Joplin song in the comments below!