Woman of Interest: Bonnie Raitt

Bonnie Raitt on keeping sane during her 70-date tour, dealing with loss and what new music shes's loving. Hint: She's a Lady Gaga fan

by Holly George-Warren
bonnie raitt image
Photograph: Management + Artists

What’s it like to perform the tracks from your new album, Slipstream?

It’s a high! I’m doing songs by great singer-songwriters—and I’m singing for all of us.


You’re starting a 70-date tour. What keeps you sane?

My bike! I can ride in parks, along rivers and see the cities I’m in.


On her two-year hiatus:
Who would have thought that rest was a sacred act? A therapistI love said, “Only go as fast as the slowest part of you can go.”

Off-road fever:
What I miss when I’m not touring is the camaraderie. I miss being cramped on a bus and being all together—I miss summer camp. Camp was the most fun time of my life, and this is the closest I get to it.

Dealing with loss:
I have acouple of friends really close to passing, and it brings into focus the blessing of being there for each other and forgiving things that are just petty and focusing on things that are important.

Documenting the past:
I still hope to finish a documentary about [’20s blues singer] Sippie Wallace. She lost her hus-band in her forties, and she missed having another relationship. It’s very difficult for musicians to maintain relationships. As I got older, that resonated with me.

Downloading the present:
I’m such a fan of Alicia Keys, and also of Lady Gaga—it’s astonishing for someone that age to have that much self-awareness and creativity. I love Adele because, like Norah Jones, she’s a terrific interpreter of songs. I don’t think there’s ever been so much exciting new music.


Want MORE? Check out another fascinating Woman of Interest, Lucy Liu

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First published in the May 2012 issue

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