I was so happy to see a photo of Carole King appear on my facebook newsfeed yesterday. NPR had posted an article about her new memoir, “A Natural Woman.” It was so comforting to see her face and to remember her music. Who can forget the great Tapestry album? I was only nine years old when that album came out, but I remember listening to it in elementary school and just the cover photo made a lasting impression on me. I never forgot her sitting barefoot in that window seat, the sunlight streaming in, the gray cat by her side. And her hair! I spent my twenties getting perms hoping to achieve the Carole King look. Her lyrics have stayed with me for 40 years…I loved what she had to say to us, “that you’re beautiful as you feel” and that life is “a tapestry to feel and see, impossible to hold.” I can still sing most of her songs by heart.
So many women have been role models for me and helped shape my life and Carole King is one of them. I haven’t read her memoir yet, but I did see a quote from the book, where she says “the key to success in performing… is to be authentically myself.” And after all these years, I realize that is what so appealed to me as a young girl back in the 1970s. She was a role model because what I saw, and heard, was a woman being real. Thank you Carole for being a natural woman and for inspiring so many of us to want to be one too.