In Your Ear: Iyanla Vanzant

Iyanla Vanzant arrives at the 4th Annual Black Girls Rock! Awards in New York, October 17, 2009. i i

Iyanla Vanzant arrives at the 4th Annual Black Girls Rock! Awards in New York, October 17, 2009. Charles Sykes/ASSOCIATED PRESS hide caption

itoggle caption Charles Sykes/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Iyanla Vanzant arrives at the 4th Annual Black Girls Rock! Awards in New York, October 17, 2009.

Iyanla Vanzant arrives at the 4th Annual Black Girls Rock! Awards in New York, October 17, 2009.

Charles Sykes/ASSOCIATED PRESS

As part of Tell Me More's occasional series "In Your Ear," author and one-time Oprah Winfrey protege Iyanla Vanzant shares her musical inspirations. Artists include Kem, Mary J. Blige and Yolanda Adams.

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MICHEL MARTIN, host: Now to a segment we call In Your Ear. That's where we ask some of our guests to tell us what music's been rocking their worlds, motivating them through a power walk or offering the background to some moments of relaxation.

Today, one-time Oprah Winfrey protege, Iyanla Vanzant. She made a name for herself as an author and a regular guest on "Oprah." And she seemed on the fast track toward getting her own show like Dr. Phil's or Nate Berkus's, but there was a falling out, which Ms. Vanzant wrote about in a recent book.

SUZAN JOHNSON COOK: She returned for an appearance in the final season of Oprah and she talked with us about her experiences just last month. And then she stayed for a few more minutes to talk music.

IYANLA VANZANT: I'm Iyanla Vanzant and this is what's playing in my ear: Kem.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WHEN LOVE CALLS")

KEM: (Singing) When your heart was broken...

VANZANT: "When Love Calls."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WHEN LOVE CALLS")

KEM: (Singing) When your wounded pride was laid to rest, baby, you'll never open your heart to anyone else, you said.

VANZANT: I just absolutely love that song. I don't think about it from the relationship, lover perspective. It was my daughter's favorite song. And when she was diagnosed with colon cancer, she said that the only thing that could heal her, save her, is love. And that whatever love called her to do, she would do. And on December 25th, 2003, she surrendered her life to love.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WHEN LOVE CALLS")

KEM: (Singing) There's nowhere to hide when the love is calling your name, yeah, from the dark, nowhere to hide, baby. Yeah. There's nowhere to hide, so let love have its way with your heart when love calls. Love calls, love calls your name.

VANZANT: The other song playing in my ear is Mary J. Blige, "All That I Can Say."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ALL THAT I CAN SAY")

MARY J. BLIGE: (Singing) I've always been curious, meeting someone serious, looking for someone who loves like me. But the day I stopped my search, it seemed that you were put on Earth to show me everything I could not see.

VANZANT: You know, sometimes we have something on our heart or something on our mind and we try to make up words and try to make it sound good, but sometimes all that I can say is, mm, mm, mm. And that's enough.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ALL THAT I CAN SAY")

BLIGE: (Singing) All that I can say, all that I can say, all that I can say.

VANZANT: The last song that's playing in my ear is "Just a Prayer Away."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JUST A PRAYER AWAY")

YOLANDA ADAMS: (Singing) You will never have to wonder about my love.

VANZANT: Sung by Yolanda Adams.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JUST A PRAYER AWAY")

ADAMS: (Singing) Just put your faith and trust in my care.

VANZANT: In my deepest, darkest moments, what really got me through was a prayer. Sometimes my prayer was: help me. Sometimes a prayer was: thank you. What I've discovered is that intimate connection and communication with my creator will always get me through because I know my support, my help is just a prayer away.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JUST A PRAYER AWAY")

ADAMS: (Singing) Prayer away. Call my name...

MARTIN: That, again, was Iyanla Vanzant, the author and spiritual mentor who was herself a protege of Oprah. To hear our conversation with Ms. Vanzant, please go to NPR.org, choose a Programs menu and click on TEL ME MORE.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JUST A PRAYER AWAY")

ADAMS: (Singing) Prayer away. Call my name with your heart and I'll hear. I am...

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