Celebrity Sit-Down Bonus: A Conversation with Carole King

In this Web-exclusive bonus, Carole King discusses what makes her new holiday album a family affair.

by Holly George-Warren
Photograph: Photo by Chris Hatcher

More: There’s a famous picture of you in the studio with Gerry [Goffin] in the early ‘60s and you look so young!
CK: We were children with a child.

More: Over your very long career, you've been able to keep it together.  Is there a way that you were able to protect yourself from fame just chewing you up and spitting you out?
CK: There was, and it's an active quest for being grounded, for having a normal life.  I've been on that quest my whole life, and actively doing that, and resisting when they tell you, "You need to do this to make that happen." I got to have my life the way I wanted it, and that was my priority – not having more fame or making more money or whatever. I love that people love my music and I love getting it out to people, but I also feel that once I write the song, it goes out there and people should enjoy it.  The songs have lives of their own, so I wanted to have a life of my own, and balance that with occasional going out and performing.

I read that Amy Winehouse's funeral service ended with a rendition of my song "So Far Away." [Her father] Mitch Winehouse said it was one of his daughter's favorite songs, and I was getting all weepy about that. I want to share with you that I'm so grateful that my music was meaningful to Amy Winehouse. That was what I wanted, that my songs would go out there and touch people. It’s touched people as far away as Cambodia and Afghanistan, if you can imagine that. That's what's meaningful to me is the fact that if my music has touched even one person, there's already a really good reason for me to have been on the planet, and if it's touched as many people as I know it has, that's really great. I'm particularly touched by Amy Winehouse, and I wish that she had been able to hear the deeper meaning: don't throw away your life; you don't need to go live in that other place; you can make it.  But I had no way of saying that to her, and had I said it, she wouldn't have listened.

More: She introduced your music to a new generation with her version of "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?”
CK: My heart really goes out to her family, and how they must have struggled, and will always struggle now without her. I'm glad my music was meaningful to her and I wish that I could have had more of a positive influence on her to hang onto life.

Want MORE? Check out our Celebrity Sit-Down with Carole King.

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First Published November 15, 2011

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