Bonnie Raitt Talks Prince, Bagpipes, and Her New Album on ‘The Kelly Clarkson Show’

by Suzanne Halliburton

Bonnie Raitt is readying for her new album, which is out Friday. And she’s hyping her new work by harkening back to some old stories.

On Thursday, she was the first guest on The Kelly Clarkson Show. And Clarkson said she couldn’t sleep Wednesday night because she was so anxious to interview one of her long-time music idols. Plus, Raitt is an official icon. She won a Grammy this month for lifetime achievement.

Clarkson and Raitt tossed it back to Prince, who died six years ago today (April 21). Prince called Raitt one day back in 1986 and asked her to work on an album with him. She had to put off the collaboration for a few months because she broke her thumb on a skiing trip.

Then she made a life-changing decision.

“I was like 35-40 pounds heavier and I went, ‘You know, if I do a video with this guy — if the songs work and it’s really sexy — I gotta do something… I gotta work on this,” Raitt told Clarkson.

Raitt said she then gave up alcohol and started hanging out with a group of sober friends. In doing so, she lost 20 pounds.  “I was so terrified of being in a video with him,” Raitt said. ” And not… (Prince) looking and saying all that sexy stuff to me and going, ‘I don’t think people are gonna believe that.’”

The two music superstars never released the songs they worked on. But in 1996, Prince paid tribute to his friend when he covered the Raitt hit “I Can’t Make You Love Me” on the album “Emancipation.” Except Prince tweaked the name of the cover to “Eye Can’t Make U Love Me.”

Clarkson also asked her about Raitt’s bagpipe phase. It seems she bought the instrument from a thrift store while attending Radcliffe. She said she even posted an ad in the student newspaper looking for someone to teach her. But she gave up the bagpipes. She didn’t have enough lung capacity and her dorm mates hated it.

“It was too hard for me, glad I stuck with the guitar,” she said.

Her fans certainly are glad that the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer focused on the guitar. So now for some more info on Bonnie Raitt and her new album, “Just Like That.”

The first single released from it is “Made Up Mind.” That’s a song about a relationship gone so wrong. The title song is “Just Like That.” Raitt wrote the song after hearing about a heartbreaking story on the news. A young man had died. His mother blamed herself. But one day, a stranger shows up at her door. He’d received her son’s heart. So he asked the mother if she’d like to listen to his chest so that she could hear the memories of her son.

“I lost it,” Raitt told Clarkson about the first time she heard the story. “I just lost it, I was so moved by the story.” She put herself in the place of the mother and the man with the transplanted heart. And wrote, “what it would be like for both those people to experience that. … We need stories like that to just open your heart in these difficult times.”

Here’s the lyrical video from the first single from Bonnie Raitt and “Just Like That.” Enjoy.