The 80-year-old New York City-born songwriter and performer, Carole King, is one of the most cherished artists in modern American history.
Active in the scene since 1958, King has written or co-written 118 songs that have appeared on the Billboard Hot 100. And 61 of her songs appeared on the U.K. charts, which makes her the most successful female songwriter in the U.K. between 1962 and 2005.
King has also earned four Grammy Awards and she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In 2015, she became a Kennedy Center Honoree. But with someone so accomplished and decorated, it’s natural to wonder what they thought about the world outside of their beloved verse and music?
Indeed, what did King have to say about life and love, her craft and the world around her? Here are the 20 best Carole King quotes.
1. “My creativity is an entity unto its own.”
2. “I’ve had a remarkable life. I seem to be in such good places at the right time. You know, if you were to ask me to sum my life up in one word, gratitude.”
3. “I only wanted to be a songwriter. I never wanted to be a singer. And I never wanted to be famous.”
4. “There is a downside to having one of the biggest-selling albums ever.”
5. “My parents always told me I could be anything I wanted to be.”
6. “The downside of videos is that it will put my vision in front of other people, so they might not get the chance to create their own.”
7. “Sometimes I get a lyric, and the lyric, you know, comes off the page, and goes into my brain and comes out with a melody. Other times, I may create a melody first.”
8. “My name at birth was Carol Joan Klein. It would take me five decades to appreciate my surname and the history that came with it. Along the way, I would add an ‘e’ to Carol and acquire several more surnames.”
9. “All I needed to do was sing with conviction, speaking my truth from the heart, honestly and straightforwardly, and to offer my words, ideas and music to the audience as if it were one collective friend that I’d known for a very long time.”
10. “When I wake up every morning, I smile and say, ‘Thank you.’ Because out of my window I can see the mountains, then go hiking with my dog and share her bounding joy in the world.”
11. “I write heavily under the influence of James Taylor.”
12. “I think Madonna has a great deal of intelligence and capability. I have a lot of respect for her. She’s taken her career and maximized it with intelligence and creativity.”
13. “I used to hate the sound of my voice.”
14. “I just sort of try to be a good person; try to write music that lifts people and makes me feel good to sing.”
15. “In my career I have never felt that my being a woman was an obstacle or an advantage. I guess I’ve been oblivious.”
16. “I was taking singing lessons, and they’d say, ‘Your voice is too hoarse. You have to do more exercises.'”
17. “I listen to both oldies and contemporary stations. I enjoy listening to current stuff because there’s an energy to it that’s inspiring.”
18. “When I was younger, I was kind of fearless. I think it takes more courage to do things when you know more. I was completely naive, and I was like, ‘Why can’t I do anything I want to do?'”
19. “Had my grandparents not emigrated when they did, I might have been born Jewish in Eastern Europe during World War II, or I might not have been born at all. Instead, I was born in 1942 in New York City.”
20. “Everybody understands friendship, and friendship is different than love – it’s a different kind of love. Friendship has more freedom, more latitude. You don’t expect your friend to be as you think your friend should be; you expect your friend just to love you as a friend.”
Photo: Legacy Recordings