Remarks by the President: Presenting Carole King the Gershwin Prize, 5/22/13

“Of course, as we gather tonight to present this award, our thoughts and prayers remain with the wonderful people of Oklahoma. They have suffered mightily this week. And while the road ahead will be long, their country will be with them every single step of the way. That’s who we are and that’s how we treat our family and friends, and our neighbors wherever they are in the country. So we’re going to help them recover. We’re going to help them rebuild for as long as it takes. And eventually, life will go on and new memories will be made. New laughter will come. New songs will be sung.

And that’s often why we turn to music during trying times — for comfort and for inspiration, and sometimes just for a good diversion. George Gershwin, it was said, was a “man who lives in music,” who “expresses everything, serious or not, sound or superficial, by means of music, because it is his native language.” And I can’t think of a better description of tonight’s Gershwin Prize recipient, singer-songwriter Carole King….

As Carole tells it, the secret to her success is that “I try to get out of the way and let the process be guided by whatever is driving me.” That’s what makes her songs so personal and so powerful, so enduring. Like the Gershwins, it’s not just that Carole lives the music. It’s that music lives in her.”

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