Bonnie Raitt: My role models were people that were aging, just getting more experienced and richer in their tones and in their musical abilities. Those that continued to stretch and try new things have always been an inspiration, whether it’s Mick Jagger and Keith Richards or Tony Bennett or my dad or B.B. King or Charles and Ruth Brown— all of the people that I was so lucky enough to be touring with and look up to as my mentors, they seem to embrace being older and their position of emeritus, you know, being honored. The older they got, the more treasured that they were. I was grateful that I didn’t have to be worried about that. I just never even think about it, except when I’m asked all the time, “What’s it like to get older in the business?”
I mean, I wasn’t aiming for commercial success, crossover success, but I watched a lot. I keep an eye on the industry. … I was basically a live music artist that made my living that way, and always have been. But as I’ve watched other parts of the business that are more mainstream, those artists get booted off a little bit when they hit their late 40s or their late 30s. I was dismayed by that, but that’s not really my end of the business.
I don’t think about staying in a certain lane. I just really am song-motivated, if I hear a song that I know is right for me. It takes me years of listening and searching and turning over rocks and reading lots of reviews about up-and-coming songwriters, and then asking a lot of friends of mine, “Who have you been listening to lately,” and then going back and hearing catalogs of other artists that I’ve already recorded songs of. The song really tells you what it wants, in my opinion. – NPR