"I did a lot of research on Rick... I don't believe his audience is creative people": Jacob Collier calls Rick Rubin's creative manifesto "absolutely false"

Rick Rubin and Jacob Collier
(Image credit: Getty Images/Frazer Harrison/Gareth Cattermole)

Ok, as beefs go, it's a nuanced and well-expressed one, but uber-talented multi-instrumentalist Jacob Collier has taken issue with some of Rick Rubin's many utterances on the nature and purpose of creativity itself.

In a frankly inspiring interview on The Colin and Samir show (below), a podcast 'breaking down the latest news in the creator economy from a creator's perspective', Collier isn't afraid to unpack his own thoughts on creativity.

"The fundamental truth is that there is no one way of doing anything," Collier says. "There are literally no rules." And this is where he splits from Rubin's own inspiring but fairly prescriptive approach to any and all creative endeavours (as beautifully expressed in his book, The Creative Act, which we also recommend).

I worry about the strong prevalence of an attitude like 'the audience comes last'

Jacob Collier

When co-host Colin moves the discussion onto Rubin, Collier is quick to push back on the bearded one's overarching philosophy.

"Rick Rubin has that great quote," prompts Colin, "'The audience comes last'. And when I read that, I resonated with that."

Collier reveals "I did a lot of research on Rick," before presenting his own findings: "To me, the crux of this is that 'this is for everyone' or 'this is for me'... I made a lot of my first work for me - that's not novel to me. What was novel to me at the age of 20 was to make something for others."

"I worry about the strong prevalence of an attitude like 'the audience comes last', partly because I also believe that there's there just is no one way of doing anything.

"And I feel, as a deeply creative person, I would critique Rick," Collier continues before concluding, "I don't believe his audience is creative people. I think his audience is people who aren't creative, for whom creativity is novel."

"...I look at Rick and I, it's like, has anyone ever debated him on this stuff, because there are ways of approaching creativity. As someone who solves a lot of problems myself and has my own particular angle... I'm not the ultimate angle. I'm me, I'm Jacob, I see the world of the way I see it.

"But I'd love to sit with Rick at one point and just talk to him and to the card and push him. And I would also welcome to be pushed because all of us need to be examined, our opinions need to be examined and squeezed and broken.

I'd love to sit with Rick at one point and just talk to him and to the card and push him

"And I just think that anyone who sits there saying this is the one way to do it. You know Rick says things like 'art is only pure of it's made for only art's sake. Absolutely false."

We'd happily watch Collier vs Rubin in a head-to-head creativity tussle. In the meantime, you could do worse than watch the whole Collier interview above - he has a lot to say about a lot of things - and sign up to Colin and Samir's 1.4m strong YouTube following here - we just have.

Will Groves

I'm lucky enough to be MusicRadar's Editor-in-chief while being, by some considerable distance, the least proficient musician on the editorial team. An undeniably ropey but occasionally enthusiastic drummer, I've worked on the world's greatest music making website in one capacity or another since its launch in 2007. I hope you enjoy the site - we do.