Oprah’s Master Class: The Podcast

By Oprah

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Hear the greatest life lessons of some of the most respected and renowned actors, musicians, public figures and athletes. Handpicked by Oprah, these luminaries reveal their lives with candor and insight — in their own words. Listen as Jay -Z, Justin Timberlake, Ellen Degeneres, Shaquille O’Neal, Reba McEntire, Dwayne Johnson and Jane Fonda, (just to name a few), share what they’ve learned about life and their own insights into their personal stories.

Episode Date
James Taylor

James Taylor has sold more than 100 million albums, with classics such as "How Sweet It Is," “You’ve Got a Friend” and “Shower the People.” In 1968, when James Taylor was just 18 years old, he opted out of college and talked his parents into buying him a ticket to London. James arrived with guitar in hand and set out to travel and play music. He got his break as the first signed artist to the Beatles' Apple Records, and with influences like Joni Mitchell and Carole King, James has earned his place as one of the best songwriters of all time. He speaks openly about working hard to avoid his family's curse of addiction: "The sooner you get over it, the sooner you get on with your life." James also explains his process of tapping into the emotions that sometimes can only be expressed in a song.

Dec 06, 2018
Vanessa Williams

Emmy-, Grammy- and Tony-nominated actress and singer Vanessa Williams opens up about her Miss America controversy, motherhood, aging in Hollywood and how she believes success comes from "giving your whole heart." Vanessa, who describes herself as a woman of “great faith and spirit,” shares her beliefs on a higher power, forgiveness, optimism and gratitude. In 1984, Vanessa was a junior at Syracuse University when she was crowned the first African American Miss America. Vanessa discusses how she prepared for the pageant, how she survived what she describes as the “racist” backlash for winning and why she resigned with six weeks left in her reign. A mother of four, Vanessa explains how she managed a successful career, reveals the major role she turned down while raising her children and why she doesn’t regret any of the sacrifices she’s made.

Nov 29, 2018
Tim McGraw

Multiple Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and actor Tim McGraw sits down for an emotional conversation about his childhood, the family secret that would change his life forever, his marriage to Faith Hill and what he's learned from fatherhood. Tim holds the record for the highest-grossing tour in country music history and has had 16 albums reach number one on the Billboard charts. Married to superstar Faith Hill for more than 20 years, the couple is considered country music royalty. Although Tim has performed in giant stadiums in front of thousands of fans, he says that deep down he is an innately shy person. As a young artist, he began using alcohol as "liquid courage" to get onstage, a habit that turned into an addiction. Tim explains how he finally came to realize that enough was enough.

Nov 22, 2018
Robert Duvall

Nominated for seven Academy Awards, acting legend Robert Duvall credits his deep belief in authenticity as the driving force behind his ability to bring characters to life. Robert explains how he started out in drama classes at a small college in Southern Illinois. After two years in the military, Robert quit a steady job with the U.S. Postal Service to pursue his dream of becoming an actor. Robert reminisces about his early days in New York City with then-unknown actors Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman. Robert’s storied career includes appearances in iconic classics such as "To Kill a Mockingbird," "Apocalypse Now," “The Apostle” and "The Godfather,” and his Oscar-winning performance in “Tender Mercies.”

Nov 15, 2018
Cindy Crawford

Supermodel, fitness expert and entrepreneur Cindy Crawford discusses her childhood, her former marriage to Richard Gere and her storied career. Growing up in the small town of DeKalb, Illinois, Cindy lost her younger brother to leukemia when he was three years old. Cindy shares how this loss and the divorce of her parents impacted the way she lives her life. Cindy also talks about the tough decision to leave Northwestern University to pursue a career in modeling. She takes a candid look back at her short-lived marriage to A-list actor Richard Gere and reflects on what she learned from their relationship. Cindy says her goal in life isn't to be happy, it's to be present, whether she's at home with her two children or on a dinner date with her husband, Rande Gerber.

Nov 08, 2018
Lionel Richie

Grammy-, Golden Globe- and Academy Award-winning musical genius Lionel Richie opens up about his childhood in Tuskegee, Alabama, the prejudices he endured, and what he learned from his father about conquering adversity. Lionel hasn’t stopped making music since his debut with the Commodores in 1968 and later, a hugely successful solo career selling more than 100 million records in total. In 1985, producer Quincy Jones gave Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson the challenge of a lifetime: write a song to help end famine in Africa. Lionel reflects on what became the worldwide phenomenon known as “We Are the World.” Lionel also explains how taking a three-year hiatus from the business may have saved his life.

Nov 01, 2018
Simon Cowell

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to hear Simon Cowell critique himself? The infamous talent scout turns his critical eye on his own life and opens up in a surprisingly frank way. He imparts some of his life lessons on rejection, failure and, eventually, great success. He speaks about honesty, ego and why it's important to trust your instincts. He also talks about being a bad kid, an even worse student and how he learned to use his natural sense of rebellion to get ahead in the music business. Simon explains why he nearly turned down being a judge on "American Idol," and recalls the moment he first saw "Britain's Got Talent" sensation Susan Boyle.

Oct 25, 2018
Jon Bon Jovi

Rock legend and philanthropist Jon Bon Jovi has sold more than 125 million records with his eponymous band, Bon Jovi. Here, Jon takes us inside the group's meteoric rise to fame and the dramatic lessons he learned along the way. Jon says that when times were rough for the band, his ideas about loyalty were put to the test, but, he explains, he eventually learned to honor his partnerships. Through his experiences, Jon teaches us to believe in ourselves and shares how he learned to never take no for an answer.

Oct 18, 2018
Susan Sarandon

Oscar-winning actress and humanitarian Susan Sarandon explains why she credits her success to the fact that all of her plans failed. A New Jersey native and the eldest of nine siblings, Susan grew up in a strict Roman Catholic school system, which she says shaped her world view in a way that eventually led to her social and political activism. Susan talks about her first big break when she auditioned for an independent film on a whim and how she was soon starring in big feature films, such as "Bull Durham," "Thelma & Louise" and "Dead Man Walking." Susan also opens up about aging in Hollywood and what she believes is at the root of true beauty.

Oct 11, 2018
LL Cool J

Hip-hop legend, Grammy winner, TV and film star, devoted husband and father, LL Cool J has accomplished it all. Nevertheless, it's easy to see a scenario where it never would have happened. As a kid growing up in Queens, LL almost lost his mother and grandfather when they were shot by his father during a fit of rage. Incredibly, once his father turned his life around, LL's mother grew to forgive him and allowed him back into LL's life. LL says this powerful lesson taught him how forgiveness is a key to happiness. Now, after decades in a loving marriage to his wife, Simone, LL explains how she and their four children keep him grounded and balanced.

Oct 04, 2018
Kevin Hart

With persistence and sheer will, Kevin Hart worked his way up from selling sneakers in his hometown of Philadelphia to selling out stadiums all over the world as a stand-up comic. Today, Kevin is a blockbuster comedic force breaking box-office records in movies like "The Secret Life of Pets," "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" and "Night School," making him one of the highest-earning comedians. Kevin opens up about both his professional journey and his personal life. He explains that no matter how successful and famous he gets, his strong upbringing by his dedicated mother, as well as his difficult relationship with his father, taught him to value his wife and children above all else. Kevin also opens up about his first failed marriage and shares the different approach he's taken with his marriage to model Eniko Parrish.

Sep 27, 2018
Jane Fonda

Two-time Oscar-winning actress, author, political activist and fitness pioneer Jane Fonda discusses her celebrity upbringing, her film career and her controversial activism. Jane explains why it's never too late to become who you were meant to be. She was famous from the day she was born. Despite what appeared to be a storybook upbringing, hers was a complicated childhood scarred by her mother's suicide and an emotionally distant father. The survival mechanisms she developed as a child and her ensuing quest for perfection laid the foundation for the life lessons she would not unravel until many years later. Now, from the vantage of what Jane calls the "third act" of her life, one of the most scrutinized women of our time opens up like never before, sharing how she learned to forgive herself and let her vulnerabilities show, and why she feels that she is finally "whole."

Sep 20, 2018
Patti LaBelle

Legendary performer, Patti LaBelle, has electrified audiences more 50 years. When Patti was a little girl growing up in Philadelphia, she says she was so shy, her mother used to bribe her with quarters to play with other children. But in the privacy of her bedroom, a singer was born, when Patti started performing using a broomstick as a microphone. Years before Lady Gaga and Madonna, Patti, along with Sarah Dash and Nona Hendryx, revolutionized music with their out-of-this-world fashion and over-the-top hairstyles. Their glam-rock girl group, Labelle, scored a number one hit with "Lady Marmalade." When the women parted ways, Patti went solo, and despite crippling anxiety at her first show, she received a standing ovation and never looked back. A bestselling cookbook author, sweet potato pie queen and self-described cheesecake addict, Patti took charge of her health and made drastic changes to her diet after being diagnosed with diabetes, the same disease that contributed to her mother's death. She also discusses the deaths of her three sisters from cancer, and shares how their deaths influence the way she lives her life. Patti has a recurring role on this season of OWN’s hit show Greenleaf, playing the part of Maxine Patterson, a famous Christian motivational speaker and the CEO of a global, faith-based self-help empire.

Sep 13, 2018
Lenny Kravitz

Actor, producer and Grammy-winning musician Lenny Kravitz talks about how his mixed cultural background influenced his signature retro music style and how he challenged the industry with his unconventional image. Lenny's mother is Roxie Roker, a black actress known for her character Helen Willis on the hit '70s sitcom "The Jeffersons," and his father is Sy Kravitz, an NBC News producer of Russian Jewish descent. Lenny opens up about his upbringing and how his father's infidelity affected him as a young boy. In 1987, Lenny, then 23 years old, eloped with his girlfriend, actress Lisa Bonet, the young star of "The Cosby Show," whom he met backstage at one of his concerts. While the marriage didn't work out, Lenny says, his romance with Lisa was a wonderful experience, one that led to the birth of their daughter, Zoe. Lenny opens up about staying close with Lisa, whom he calls his "best friend," and about learning to be a new kind of family. Lenny also explains why, despite his incredible success as an artist, his favorite place to find peace is a small Airstream trailer parked on the edge of a Bahamian beach. Plus, Lenny imparts the best lesson he's learned about love.

Sep 06, 2018
Lynn Whitfield

Emmy-winning actress Lynn Whitfield talks about fighting for better roles in Hollywood, how she learned to be a better mother, coming to terms with aging, and finding grace through faith and family. Lynn discusses growing up in a close-knit community in her hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and not really experiencing racism until high school. When she did, she says, it taught her to stand up for herself with the strength and conviction she'd learned from her mother. Lynn also shares how, as a teen, she found herself struggling to be perfect while dealing with her parents' divorce. After graduating from Howard University, Lynn headed to New York, where the entertainment business quickly taught her humility, and she realized how difficult it was to book decent acting jobs in a fiercely competitive industry. After relocating to Los Angeles and paying her dues, Lynn finally started landing bigger roles, including the legendary entertainer Josephine Baker in "The Josephine Baker Story," for which she earned an Emmy. The TV movie led to her having her daughter, Grace, whom she had after falling in love with and marrying the project's director, Brian Gibson. However, her marriage to Gibson didn't last because, she says, she didn't have a spiritual base. That's when she returned to faith, which she credits with giving her the guidance and strength to raise her daughter alone after Gibson tragically died. Today, she stars as Lady Mae in OWN's hit series "Greenleaf," a role she was initially hesitant to take but now relishes. Despite all her accomplishments, Lynn says she is constantly readjusting, always striving to find her inner truth.

Aug 30, 2018
Steve Harvey

Standup comic, TV host, radio host and best-selling author Steve Harvey's journey to success has been anything but easy. Steve discusses the highs and many lows, including years of homelessness, that ultimately paved his road to stardom. Today, Steve Harvey is a household name, but this "Original King of Comedy” didn't even realize he wanted to be a comedian until he was in his late twenties. Before that, Steve had a 9-to-5 job and was married with children. The first time he went to a comedy club, he signed up on a whim to perform at an open mic event. Everything clicked at that moment and the next day, he quit his job. In the most tumultuous period of Steve's life, he found himself estranged from his family and living out of his 1976 Ford Tempo. When he was just about ready to throw in the towel, Steve got the call to appear at the famous Apollo Theater in Harlem. He managed to scrape together the airfare and get to the show, and the rest is history. Since then, Steve has branched into nearly every aspect of entertainment, writing several New York Times bestsellers and hosting his own long-running radio show, his own daytime talk show, the beloved game show Family Feud, multiple primetime shows and even the Miss Universe Pageant. Throughout all his successes, Steve says he has used failure as a learning experience.

Aug 23, 2018
Reba McEntire

Despite many obstacles and challenges, Reba McEntire used the lessons she learned throughout her life to find her own unique voice and go on to become one of the best-selling female country artists of all time. Before she was the Queen of Country, Reba grew up on a ranch in Chockie, Oklahoma, a town with a population of 18. Growing up on a ranch meant that, early on, Reba learned the value of hard work and doing the job right. This work ethic stayed with her from her early days singing at rodeos to the stellar success to come. Reba's journey has taught her many things, and sometimes the lessons were hard-won. In 1991, when eight of her band members were killed in an airplane crash, Reba learned just how precious life is and how important it is to cherish each day. Reba reveals three traits, or "bones," you should have in life: a wishbone because you need goals for yourself; a backbone, which is your drive because it helps you to make things happen; and a funny bone because a sense of humor is key to living a fulfilled life. On top of her tremendous success as a country musician, she's had an acting career in Hollywood and a starring role in the Broadway revival of "Annie Get Your Gun." And all along, Reba remembered the words of her father, who said that "it's the getting there" that matters most.

Aug 16, 2018
Shaquille O'Neal

At over 7 feet tall, Basketball Hall of Famer and four-time NBA champion Shaquille O'Neal was born to play hoops, but that doesn't mean it came easy. Shaquille talks about his life and the lessons he's learned in his journey from 20-year-old draft pick to seasoned statesman of the game and iconic star. He explains that even though he was always a big guy (6'9" by age 14), he wasn't always the natural athlete everyone expected him to be. Shaquille made a lot of mistakes along the way and had to learn how to focus and work extremely hard to become a dominant force on the court. As a Los Angeles Laker, Shaquille's legendary partnership with Kobe Bryant helped bring the team to four NBA Finals in five years. Shaquille leaned on his loving mother and disciplined stepfather, who shaped and guided him every step of the way. Shaquille opens up about the depth of his mother's love and devotion, calling her his "best friend." He says the discipline instilled by his Army sergeant stepfather, Phillip Arthur Harrison (the man he considers to be his father), was key. Through Phillip's tough lessons, Shaquille learned how to be a leader and never be satisfied with the achievements he already had.

Aug 09, 2018
Justin Timberlake

Musician, actor and global superstar Justin Timberlake is one of the most celebrated entertainers of his generation. From *NSYNC to "SexyBack" to his two-part album, "The 20/20 Experience," and his most recent release, "Man of the Woods," Justin has spent his career defying the odds. The singer shares never-before-told stories about his childhood, talks about his musical influences and looks back on his most valuable life lessons. He reveals his reasons for leaving boy band *NSYNC and why it was difficult to say goodbye. Justin also advises how to find your voice, how to break the mold and how to hold on to your ambition. Justin has won 10 Grammys, won four Emmys, performed at two Super Bowl halftime shows, starred in more than 20 movies and sold nearly 60 million singles around the world. He is currently on his worldwide Man of the Woods tour. 

Aug 02, 2018
Alicia Keys

Multiple-Grammy-winning musician, songwriter and producer Alicia Keys discusses the trajectory of her personal life and career. A classically trained pianist, Alicia was composing songs by age 12 and was signed to a professional recording deal at 15. Since then, Alicia has sold more than 35 million albums, won 15 Grammys and 17 NAACP Image Awards. Here, the artist talks about getting bitten by the singing bug; following her passion; being a wife to her husband, Swizz Beatz, and a mother to her son Egypt; and letting go of the anger she had toward her father. She reveals that when success happened for her, it hit like a whirlwind. Alicia says that between a rigorous touring schedule and media demands, she was starting to buckle from the stress. To cope, she took three weeks off and went on a trip that changed her life forever. Alicia shares the lessons she learned about finding herself on that pivotal trip to Egypt. 

Jul 26, 2018

Rapper, songwriter, producer, entrepreneur and hip-hop mogul Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter charts his unlikely rise from the Brooklyn projects to superstardom, sharing what he's learned along the way. Since 1996, the 21-time Grammy winner has dominated an evolution in popular culture, with more than 35 million records sold and 14 number one Billboard hits (second only to the Beatles). Candid, raw and real, Jay-Z offers personal revelations about integrity, failure and why knowing your truth is everything. He reflects on the challenges of growing up without a father and how they made their peace before his father's death. The entertainer offers his thoughts on the healing power of hip-hop and why we all must search for our own truth. Jay-Z says, "Belief in oneself and knowing who you are, I mean, that's the foundation of everything great." Jay-Z and his wife, Beyoncé, kicked off their On the Run II stadium tour Wednesday, June 6, 2018, in Cardiff, U.K., with stops in 15 cities across the U.K. and Europe. The 21-date North American leg begins July 25, 2018, in Cleveland.

Jul 19, 2018
Dwayne Johnson

This is a special preview of the brand-new podcast, “Oprah’s Master Class: The Podcast.”

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson started his career as a professional wrestler and is now an actor, producer and father. Dwayne shares deeply personal stories about his life, from his humble beginnings all the way through his blockbuster movie career. For years, Dwayne says, he and his parents lived paycheck to paycheck, moving to a different city every time his dad, a professional wrestler in the '80s, got a new gig. As a high school student, Dwayne started getting into trouble. He was arrested for everything from fighting and stealing to forging checks. Nevertheless, Dwayne says, he was able to start changing his life for the better when he was 16 years old. After playing football for four years at the University of Miami, Dwayne was passed over by the NFL. Although he played for the Canadian Football League for a short time, he was ultimately cut from his team, the Calgary Stampeders. At 23, Dwayne found himself living in his parents' small apartment, battling depression. How he was able to leave his parents' home and eventually become one of the biggest names in Hollywood is a story that is as amazing as it is inspirational. To date, Dwayne's films, such as "Jumanji," "San Andreas" and the "Fast and Furious" franchise, have earned a combined box office totaling more than $3 billion. His current movie, "Skyscraper," is in theaters now.

Jul 17, 2018
An Introduction

Hear the greatest life lessons of some of the most respected and renowned actors, musicians, public figures and athletes. Handpicked by Oprah, these luminaries reveal their lives with candor and insight — in their own words. Listen as Jay -Z, Justin Timberlake, Ellen Degeneres, Shaquille O’Neal, Reba McEntire, Dwayne Johnson and Jane Fonda, (just to name a few), share what they’ve learned about life and their own insights into their personal stories.

Jun 19, 2018