Terry Gross recently had a long interview with Carole King on Fresh Air, where they discussed becoming a songwriter, Gerry Goffin (King’s writing partner and ex-husband), and King’s life in music. It’s worth listening to.
To put the conversation in a bit of context, Gross wanted to be a songwriter when she was younger, and King was just a few years older and from around the same neighborhood.
One thing King doesn’t talk about in that interview is how she became a performer: she moved to Los Angeles (Laurel Canyon, specifically) and was part of James Taylor’s band. JT encouraged her to sing her songs on stage as part of their set.
Taylor recorded King’s song “You’ve Got a Friend” (and played guitar on her recording of it on Tapestry). On their recent reunion album “Live at the Troubadour,” Taylor says, to introduce the song:
For an altogether weirder, fictional take on King’s world, you can check out the Alison Anders movie “Grace of My Heart” (IMDb, Wikipedia) which follows a songwriter through a tumultuous marriage and eventual success on stage. The movie’s a bit goofy, but if you know the people who made pop music in that era, it’s fun to see how they are fictionalized.