(Every artist has a soundtrack that reveals their musical journey. But what is the one recording that proved to be a transformative moment? In this ongoing series, GRAMMY-winning and -nominated artists will reveal their answer to the deceptively difficult question: What recording changed your life?)
"Nothing Compares 2 U"
I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got (1990)
"It's so hard to choose one record that changed my life, because there are so many. I would rather give you a list of them. But if I have to choose only one, it's 'Nothing Compares 2 U' as performed by Sinéad O'Connor.
"I remember I had a cassette of it, actually, and I would play it over and over. I played it so much. I can remember listening to that on repeat and deciding then that I wanted to be a singer. So it changed my life more than any other record.
"It is an amazing song, and the video is so epic. It was written by Prince, of course, but I prefer her version even more, which I know is not usually the case with covers, but I do. Her performance is really emotional. Even when you watch the video, and you see the close-up on her eyes, you see it. I can't even tell you what it is, but it does hit you. It hit me.
"It's great for a combination of reasons. It's obviously an amazing lyric. The hook of 'nothing compares to you' is such a relatable message. And her vocal take on it is so passionate. It is one of the reasons I wanted to start singing. I remember trying to mimic the way she would sing words, and how she would go up and down different scales. I wore that cassette tape out [because] I played it so many times!"
(Carly Rae Jepsen is currently nominated for Song Of The Year and Best Pop Solo Performance for her No. 1 hit "Call Me Maybe." Her major label debut album, Kiss, was released in 2012.)
(Paul Zollo is the senior editor of American Songwriter and the author of several books, including Songwriters On Songwriting, Conversations With Tom Petty and Hollywood Remembered. He's also a songwriter and Trough Records artist whose songs have been recorded by many artists, including Art Garfunkel, Severin Browne and Darryl Purpose.)