Jimmy Buffett appeared at UM BankUnited Center as part of the 2010 Stamps Family Charitable Foundation Distinguished Visitors Series
Jimmy Buffett advised Frost School of Music students to take ownership of their persona and talent.
April 21, 2010—By Robin Shear
From flying to Miami on an expired credit card to penning his famous “Margaritaville” during a six-minute stretch driving along A1A, Jimmy Buffett regaled a University of Miami audience with colorful stories from his successful four-decades-long music career last Thursday, April 15, during the Stamps Family Charitable Foundation Distinguished Visitors Series, sponsored by Roe and Penny Stamps.
“I kind of make this life up as I go along,” announced Buffett, 63, barefoot and wearing shorts onstage at the University of Miami Fieldhouse. After playing his way through college in New Orleans (Buffett received a journalism degree from the University of Southern Mississippi), Buffett spent a couple of years in Nashville and then migrated to South Florida and the Keys. Early on Buffett said he developed a formula for performing that includes: “Take ten deep breaths before you walk up on any stage, never forget to duck, and never forget it can go to hell at any time.”
From gigs in small clubs to recording hits like “Margaritaville” and “Everybody’s Got a Cousin in Miami,” Buffett said Miami has played an important role in his creativity and success. Miami is a great “microcosm of culture expressed in music and art,” Buffett told the many Frost School of Music students in the packed audience. He counseled them to venture into the city and explore the “world out there at your doorstep.”
Buffett, who has turned his notoriety and laid-back style into a solid brand in everything from music to beer to restaurants, explained that he became a branding pioneer in the industry by taking ownership of his persona and talent. “If you don’t do it yourself, they will steal it from you,” he said. After the Q&A session, Buffett strapped on his guitar and launched into his 1970s-era tune “Migration” before concluding with a rousing rendition of “Volcano” that had an audience of 603 singing along. Before leaving the stage to sign autographs, Buffett was presented with a No. 80 Hurricanes football jersey by series sponsor Penny Stamps and UM Provost Thomas J. LeBlanc. “I’ll think about retiring when I hit that number,” quipped Buffett, whose Under the Big Top Tour kicked off April 24 in Tampa, Florida.