Renée Fleming | 5 things I know for sure: Renée Fleming

O, the Oprah Magazine, November 2012

6 November 2012

5 things I know for sure: Renée Fleming

5 things I know for sure: Renée Fleming

As her new album, The Art of Renée Fleming, hits stores, the celebrated soprano talks about the City of Light, the secret to weight loss, and what comes after her final bow.

1. You have to make time for joy. You can't just focus on shoulds. You have to also do whatever makes your heart feel full. Maybe it's cooking for your friends, being with your children. For me, it's a sunset walk around Paris– where I keep an apartment– listening to jazz and Joni Mitchell on my iPod. It's like having my own soundtrack.

2. And you have to make other things, too. It enriches you to enjoy music and art and writing, but creating something yourself is even more important. Ask yourself what it can add to your existence to write, to paint, to sing. It's so easy to leave creativity out of your life because you don't have time. But I know I wouldn't feel fully alive if I couldn't put forth some expression of myself.

3. Success is nine-tenths elbow grease. I once said to the photographer Annie Leibovitz, "You've met so many incredible people. What have you learned from them?" She answered, "Everybody works really hard." That's the key.

4. Changing your body means changing your thinking. My whole life, I've struggled with my weight. Many people in my profession do-"lt's not over till the fat lady sings;' as they say. But I've learned that weight loss, like a lot of things, starts with your mind. If you don't look inside and examine how food is protecting you from dealing with something difficult, and why some inner voice is undermining your resolve, no diet in the world will help.

5. Nothing lasts forever. A singer's career is like an athlete's-short. It would be easy to view this negatively, but instead I try to think about what my legacy will be, how I'll give back, and all the new things I' ll get to try. Like spending less time in airports, for example.

-As told to Katie Arnold-Ratliff

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