Carole King on songwriting in the age of Trump: ‘I am the honest opposition’

The songwriter has been drawn out of semi-retirement, rewriting her song One to try to persuade voters to ‘take us away from the terrible direction America is going in’

At her home in rural Idaho, Carole King is having some difficulty saying the president’s name. “Trump,” she manages eventually, her accent still pure Brooklyn half a century after she left New York and became the biggest-selling female solo artist of the early 70s. “I don’t even like using his name,” she says. “Let’s not use his name. Let’s just say ‘the leader of my country’ instead.”

King keeps a low media profile that speaks more of a self-effacing personality than suspicion or reclusiveness. As reviews of her 2012 autobiography, A Natural Woman, pointed out, she has a tendency to play down her vast success, barely mentioning in the book that her 1971 album Tapestry sold 25m copies, and summarising the astonishing run of 1960s hits she wrote with her then-husband, the late Gerry Goffin – The Loco-Motion, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?, Up on the Roof, (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman – with the line: “We continued to write enough songs to pay our mortgage.”

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