Susan Cagle

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For years, Susan performed for anyone who would listen…and then fate stepped in. Music producer Jay Levine caught her act and soon the pair started writing music together. "He's been with me through every step of the way," she says.

One of Susan's signature songs is titled "Dear Oprah"—and when Oprah heard it for the first time, she knew she wanted to meet Susan in person! The song originated from a letter Susan wrote to Oprah when she was 17—but never sent! "Your story always inspired me, your background, how you were brought up. You're a self-made person," Susan tells Oprah. "It was really just me pouring out my heart in my diary to you."

So, what is life like for Susan now? "I just feel happy to be able to walk down the street and know that I'm free," she says.