Just because I included Mario Andretti's name in a song called "Good for Me," I was invited to watch the Indy 500 from his family's private box in the spring of 1992 (my manager, Chaz Corzine, who accompanied me that day, jokingly asked if there was any way I could include Victoria's Secret model Jill Goodacre's name in my next song). That day after the race, I met team owner Paul Newman for the first time. The mood was subdued because it was a dark day in Andretti racing history: Three Andrettis had started, and none of them finished. One was in the hospital. I was afraid all of them would think I had jinxed the outcome and never expected to hear from any of them again. But Paul's friend and stunt double, Stan Barrett, suggested I be invited to sing at the September gala of Paul's Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. All proceeds from his food products go to fund this facility for sick children, and twice since that day I've made the trip to Connecticut to sing at the camp.
On my second visit, I met Carole King, truly my greatest musical influence. She was jetlagged from a trip overseas, but I was just glad we got to breathe the same air. Later, I sang on a tribute project to her great songwriting, and she sent me an old Tapestry LP cover, signed "Good Job." When it arrived, I ran around the house like a crazed kid, called my mother, and then my grade-school boyfriend, Johnny, saying, "You are the only one who will understand how monumental this is for me." Like everybody else, I know what it feels like to be a real fan.
I was thrilled to be asked to participate in the 1987 Prince's Trust concert in London, my first opportunity to work with Art Garfunkel, Robin Williams, and James Taylor. When my family and I arrived in London, I was a brand-new mother of a nine-week-old son, Matt, and we were both incredibly jetlagged. In a brief backstage meeting, Princess Diana gave me some encouraging words as another working mom. She agreed it was worth the fatigue to have your children with you. Later that night in a dressing room, James Taylor called out to me, "Give me that boy," taking a fussy Matt so I could have a break. I couldn't help but think of his beautiful lullaby "Sweet Baby James," which I had listened to a million times. To this day, I love the honesty of his music. I have been to a dozen of his live shows, and not a week goes by that I don't pull out one of his CDs and listen to it.