Billy Joel and Carlos Santana have been announced as recipients of the 2013 Kennedy Center Honors, according to The Associated Press. Among the other honorees of what is regarded as "one of America's highest cultural and artistic honors" are musician Herbie Hancock, actress Shirley MacLaine, and opera star Martina Arroyo. The honorees will be saluted on December 6th at a gala performance in Washington, D.C. at the Kennedy Center, with a broadcast set to air on December 29th on CBS.
Billy Joel said in a statement: "To be chosen for this special award essentially for doing what I love most amazes me more than anything." He posted on his official website (BillyJoel.com): "I'm truly honored to be named a Kennedy Center honoree along with the other esteemed artists named this year. And to have my name added to the illustrious roster of outstanding musicians that have already been so honored is very meaningful to me."
Carlos Santana said, "I guess people understand that Santana is not just a Mexican guitar player -- I bring a collective-consciousness awareness agenda with me. I grew up with the generation of Woodstock and Bob Marley, 'One Love,' and 'Imagine,' John Lennon. I am one of them, and we don't do what we do to be commercial or to be popular or to be cute. It's not entertainment or show business for us. For us, it's a calling."
Billy Joel remembered his first piano back home in Levittown, New York: "We had an old upright piano in the house -- it was a Lester upright piano. It was a horrible piece of garbage, but it was the only piano my parents could afford, and we had a piano in the house, which was special."
Billy has long maintained that he could care less what people think of how manages his career, his art, or his life: "I gotta tell you -- I've never done anything to be popular. I do it because I like to do it. In 1978, I did the 52nd Street album because that's what I felt like doing. Now you can believe this or not; this is the truth -- I do what I do because I wanna do it, and because I like it, and because it feels good."
Santana told us that throughout his career he's always aimed for his music to reach as broad an audience as possible: "Truly, the only criteria is, is it coming from the heart or not? If it's not coming from your heart, then it's phony baloney, so nobody wants to hear it. If it's coming from the heart, then it's necessary to be heard, because music from the heart doesn't go old, doesn't get dated, like bell-bottoms and afros. It doesn't go in and out, it stays, y'know? Just like sex and spirituality -- those things, they never grow old."