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Piers Morgan Live

Interview with Bono; Interview with Pharrell Williams; Interview with Matthew McConaughey

Aired February 14, 2014 - 21:00   ET


PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Sixteen days and counting, somebody is building in Hollywood tonight.

At this moment Oscar voters has cast in their final ballots. And I'm talking to three A-listers, each of them hoping to walk away with the golden statue.

First stop, the world's biggest rock star U2's Bono.

He's never won an Oscar but he's nominated for the song "Ordinary Love" from "Mandela; Long walk to freedom".


BONO: We're sitting there, I said it's just an honor to be nominated. And at the start of the show, Larry Mullen puts his hands on me and goes, "It's about wining though, isn't it?


MORGAN: Also, Matthew McConaughey, the star of "Dallas Buyer's Club" tell us what his father would think of his Best Actor nomination.


MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY, BEST ACTOR NOMINEE FOR THE "DALLAS BUYERS CLUB: He'd love it. He's be hamming it up right now. He's be hamming it up. He would love it. Absolutely.


MORGAN: Why Pharrell Williams or "Happy" popped on having the world most popular hat who's Oscar nominated in this song from "Despicable Me 2".



PHARREL WILLIAMS, OSCAR NOMINEE FOR "HAPPY" FROM "DESPICABLE ME 2": It was nine songs trying -- it's that nine song is trying to get that one scene right and they were all wrong.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MORGAN: Plus, behind every music superstar is the backup singer. Now, they're stepping into the spotlight themselves. Wait until you hear the voices behind the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Sting and many more. The Inside Story of the Oscar nominated "20 Feet From Stardom".

I want to begin with our Big Story though. The biggest rock star around, Bono. I sat down with him at the poolside of the Beverly Hilton hotel of the Oscar nominees luncheon this week. Can you tell me how he feels about his Oscar nomination for the song "Ordinary Love" from "Mandela: Long walk to freedom".


MORGAN: Bono, here we are in Hollywood, there you are a young guy from Ireland ...

BONO: Yes.

MORGAN: Do you ever think you'd be ...

BONO: You mean south of the land.

MORGAN: Exactly. Do you ever think we'd be sitting here by the pool of the Beverly Hilton doing an interview about your Oscar nomination?

BONO: Yes. (inaudible) started at a very early age. This, look, I stop feeling like I'm in holidays, you know, like you summer holidays coming here. The weather is good. This town has been really, really good to us for -- since the moment we came here play at the country club Robert Hilburn, a great writer put us on the cover the entertainment section of the Los Angeles Times and that was at 1980 or something. And it was just felt better and better, better, better.

And now, people are cynical about Los Angeles. I'm not, I love it. And more people live here of there imaginations that anywhere else in world if you think about that.

MORGAN: And to be Oscar nominated, what is that mean to you as an artist?

BONO: You know, its an honor, it's a thrill all of the above. I remember sitting with the band the last time we were nominated for "Gangs in New York" with Martin Scorsese film. We're sitting there and it's just an honor to be nominated. And at the start of the show, Larry Mullen puts his hands on me and goes, "It's about wining though, isn't it?

And we lost to M&M who wasn't there. In fact, he was sleep, he wasn't even watching it. His was a great song I have to say that was "Lose Yourself" the song.

MORGAN: Are you going to pretend like everybody else I've interviewed that you haven't written a winner's speech yet?

BONO: No. I will because for the Golden Globes, we're writing at the table and I was a little fraught (ph) and I absolutely will. On the off chance that it happens I have been told that's unlikely chance, but I will absolutely

MORGAN: Who in your life are you most thankful for and those moments when you get to stand on a podium at the Oscars wherever it maybe? Who when you really think about it that you personally most thankful too?

BONO: I mean this instance it will be one person. It's very clear. Nelson Mandela. I've been working for him since I was a teenager so are the members of U2. And he's kind of taught the world some serious lessons but taught us some personal lessons. But he taught us some personal lessons and we worked with him on make over the history. We worked with him on all the AIDS stuff. And, you know, his grace and his humor and with his passing we had this song that we couldn't promote.

So actually on the Oscars is the only time we're going to play this song together since recording it will be -- it think we've done an acoustic I think coming up on Jimmy Fallon. But the full band performance I think is going to be on the Oscars and he will be on our minds and ...

MORGAN: Was he the greatest figure of your lifetime?

BONO: Well, you know, he and his mate, his neighbor, the Arch, as they call him ...

MORGAN: (inaudible).

BONO: Yeah. If you don't do it, the Arch, asked and say he says, "You're not going to go to heaven.", and he goes there (ph).

But the two of them if you think about the complex that are going on in the world you realize the greatest sort of resource, honor, the most precious thing we have and rarest is leadership. And that's what we're missing, you look in lot (inaudible), you looking in (inaudible) and you think "Oh my God where -- who's going to lead these people out of this mess and where will that grace come from?

And that's really, that's sort of and then for the song that we wanted to the write, this love song because we thought everyone knows but Mandela the statement that this other side is more romantic side we thought because the only place he lost in his life was in his marriage. He won everything else.

MORGAN: What would your mother have made of you of the Oscars?

BONO: Well, she only saw or heard me sing once and on the stage just before she passed away.

Wow. I don't know. I think she'd laugh. She'd laugh a lot the first time. I'd hope she laugh a lot this time. We're playing which is nice. We're going to play at the show.

Yeah, I guess, look, you talk about people who get you to where you've got, you know, it's always the obstacles or so is the things that, you know, that define you, you know. That's where you get your defiance (ph) from. That's what you're missing and defiance is the essence of romance, isn't it Piers?

MORGAN: It certainly is, Bono. If I had the power to let you relive one moment in your life outside of marriage and children, which one would you choose?

BONO: Gosh. Somebody said if you had a perfect memory, Marvin Minsky, the great inventor artificial intelligence said that if you had a perfect memory, you'd only have sex once. And so I -- all those I'm always thinking about we and our band are always thinking about what's next.

There have been many extraordinary nights when you feel you're being carried, you know, and you sang ...

MORGAN: What's the one -- what's the one if I said, I can -- you can have that again tonight?

BONO: Playing on stage for that time in front of all of my school friends and indeed my mother in the audience if you asked because that bond (inaudible).

MORGAN: I think that's a very good. I'll say yeah. Finally, did you ever find what you're looking for?

BONO: Did I finally found what I'm looking for ...

MORGAN: I asked people today on Twitter what would you ask Bono and quite a few said, "Just ask him. Did you ever find what do you looking for?"

BONO: I think I've learned that lesson that, you know, -- it's, you know, the race of the destination and stumbling around and all the things that you think that you'd like to be better at and, you know, the things you like to improve in your life. They're actually the fun things. The things that people enjoy about you and -- and I would like to been perhaps more at peace with myself at an earlier age but I wouldn't call that a peace now with myself but I'm at peace with not being at peace, does that make sense?

Here in California I start talking like this. I'm at peace.

MORGAN: You are at peace man.

BONO: I'm not being at peace for myself.

MORGAN: You're at peace. You seem a man of peace to me.

BONO: Thank you.

MORGAN: Best of luck at the Oscars.

BONO: Come this afternoon. Great to see you over here.


MORGAN: When we come back, the musical genius by some of the biggest hits around Pharrell Williams. He's the man who Blurred Lines in just about everybody's playlist not to mention last summer's blocker buster's hit "Get Lucky" with Daft Punk. Well, now, his adding Oscar nominee to his resume and I'll talk to him next.

And later, the voices you know from the biggest hits. The backup singers takes center stage.




MORGAN: That was "Happy" from "Despicable Me 2" the song on Pharrell Williams, his first Best Song nomination making him very happy indeed. When I sat down with him in the Oscar luncheon, there was one question that I just have to ask Pharrell. What's with the hat?


MORGAN: Pharrell I can't talk to you without starting with the hat.


MORGAN: It's a new hat. It's new shade. Is it Vivienne Westwood again?

WILLIAMS: Yeah. It's a different color.

MORGAN: Tell me about the power of these hats. You have taken the world by storm with these hats in the last month.

WILLIAMS: You know what? The funny thing is I think I can't take any credit for it because it was Vivienne Westwood that you totally knew, you walked right up to me, you know exactly what it was


WILLIAMS: But, you know, this was her ode to Malcolm Mclaren in the 80s and where, you know, when hip-hop was just sort of, you know, showing its face to the world and the way that it was sort of penetrating all of the demographics. She was there very early on with Malcolm Mclaren and, you know, the buffalo stands and the buffalo gals and their song was just like huge and all the neighborhood said, you know, across America and respectively the rest -- around the world and I just remember that moment.

But I got this hat like five years ago, a friend of mine Ronnie Newhouse (ph) was giving a little education on Vivienne and all the stuff that she had done and I saw the hat and I was like, "I'm going to get that one." and I got the strong one. MORGAN: But are you worried the hat is not taking over your entire -- like everywhere you go. If one go , "Pharrell Williams, I love your hat."

WILLIAMS: Well. Well, you know, and I always say, you know, it's not me, I can't take credit this is Vivienne Westwood.

MORGAN: Right.

WILLIAMS: You know, she did it, 30 years ago.

MORGAN: Let's talk Oscars. I've interviewed Bono right here.


MORGAN: A few minutes ago.

WILLIAMS: The king. Well I mean ...

MORGAN: Are you ready to take down Bono over? Can you do that?

WILLIAMS: I don't know any -- I don't think anyone can take down Bono. Bono, you know, what he's done incredibly over all the years that he's -- of him and his fans. But we're going to work really hard because Chris Meledandri and Illumination, you know, animation, I was like, we had no help. We just had to really do it ourselves and believe in, you know, that being different was OK. And taking a different route can lead you to the destination where you're trying to get to and -- and you know what? It's not failed us thus far and regards to what happens I'm so fortunate to be, you know, just a decimal in the equation of everything that, you know, "Despicable Me" has become.

MORGAN: What does it mean to be at the Oscars? And to be what many people believe to be the greatest of all the entertainment events? That you've been nominated, you, Pharrell Williams.

WILLIAMS: Well listen, I'm -- I think this is the highest and yet the deepest point of humility that I've ever experience in my life. Because the songs here, on this side of the song is where I've -- where I've created the song. And some people say "It's a big deal." But let me explain something to you, it was nine songs trying, it took nine songs trying to get that one scene right and they we're all wrong.

And I had Chris Meledandri and the Founder of Illumination. And I had Mike Knoblock who is the supervisor of the Music Eight Universal, those guys were relentless about what was right and what was wrong.

So I can't take credit for that because had I, you know, had been up to me maybe the fifth song and I'm telling you this is a song. But each time I will reserve my ego, sit back and listen because that is the only way you can learn and get pushed. So that's on this side of the song.

On the other side of the song is the voting, is the requesting, the downloading, the sharing, and people just talking about the song. All of that activity when you look at like, when people say big, huge, or successful you look at all the views on YouTube it's over 50 million views.

MORGAN: So what's happens?

WILLIAMS: None of those views are mine.

MORGAN: All right, let you give you moment.

WILLIAMS: That's not me so what I want -- I'm sorry what I wanted to make clear is, on the other side of the song is none my doing and me being pushed to this point was not my doing either. So for real, I'm the luckiest guy in the room because I listen to these guys and the people took it to the places that they've taken.

MORGAN: That moment if you win and you go the Oscars podium, who will you feel most thankful to in your life for helping bring you to that moment?

WILLIAMS: That's the thing, it's like asking ...

MORGAN: Not just on to some, I mean for you Pharrell Williams to be a potential Oscar winner. In that moment if you won, when you look back at your entire life who will you feel most thankful to?

WILLIAMS: Definitely the omniscient because that's where it all comes from. Whether you believe in God or you believe in like, you know, the existence of math, you know, in the form of mathematics, right? There's numbers everywhere.

MORGAN: And who down here?

WILLIAMS: There's a long list of people who got me to where I am right now.

MORGAN: When you're standing there potentially is an Oscar winner, who will come in to your head?

WILLIAMS: So many faces.

MORGAN: Any family?

WILLIAMS: My mom and my Dad for sure. You know my brothers, my wife, my son, you know, my first band teacher that recognize some sort of atom of propensity towards music, you know, my middle school teacher, my high school teacher who led us to win all the trophies in the drum line that we've -- that we've won. Teddy Riley who discovered me, you know, Tammy Lucas who's thought me how to write a song. You know, Chad Hugo my partner who's a super genius guy that just thought me about music in the ways he has.

MORGAN: And if I had the power for all to say to you, last question, if had the power to say to you, I can help relive one moment in your life again, it can be to women or children. Which moment would be the greatest moment of you life so far? WILLIAMS: I couldn't because all of these things are -- every second is a piece in the mosaic for this moment.

MORGAN: If I said tonight you can relive that? You can do it all over again?

WILLIAMS: When I first met my wife.

MORGAN: When was that?

WILLIAMS: Over my buddy Alex's house down in a -- down in (inaudible).

MORGAN: What was your first thought when you saw your wife to be?

WILLIAMS: Who and where did she come from?

MORGAN: And how am I going to land her?

WILLIAMS: I knew it. I knew that. I was mine, no, no, no and actually even mine just like, you know, we're sharing this time together. You know, what I'm saying, you can't put ownership on anything and that's especially what the record that I'm making right now like, you know, there's a whole different -- I have a whole different view on like women and how good and gracious I am toward them for everything they've given me. I mean essentially like everything that I have, my fans paid for it. So I just -- I owe it to them and owed -- my album is an ode to women.

MORGAN: Well Pharrell it's been a pleasure to see you. Best of luck at the Oscars.

WILLIAMS: Thank you

MORGAN: I was waiting to doff my hat off you.

WILLIAMS: Thank you.


MORGAN: Pharrell's "Happy" for the movie "Despicable Me 2". Which is also nominated for best animated film, jump from number eight to number two on the billboard hot 100 chart these week. Making it the highest chart in best song nominee in more than a decade, second only to Eminem's "Lose Yourself" back in 2001.

Coming up the Oscar Star of "Dallas Buyers Club" Matthew McConaughey on the role that might just win him best actor.


MCCONAUGHEY: These have been really singularly focused, obsessed characters. A lot of them live on the fringes of society, but their islands and they make up their own rules, make up their own laws, they don't play cater pander to society. Those are freedom that I found in that. (END VIDEO CLIP)



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Woodroof, you've tested positive for HIV. Have you ever used intravenous drugs? Have you ever engaged in homosexual contact?

MCCONAUGHEY: Homo? You say homo? You made a mistake. That ain't me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Woodroof? We've estimated you have 30 days left.

MCCONAUGHEY: Newsflash for you all, ain't nothing out there can kill Ronald Woodroof for 30 days.


MORGAN: Matthew McConaughey is undisputedly on a roll, nominated for best actor for "Dallas Buyers Club". Well, it's getting a lots of attention, it was rolling in the "Wolf of Wall Street"

I sat down with him at the nominees luncheon to talk about life in the Oscar spotlight.


MORGAN: So, Matthew, the last time I spoke to you with a great interview and ended with you playing the bongos. I don't think even you in that moment could have ever imagine quite what has happened to your career in the last year. How do you feel about this extraordinary resurgence?

MCCONAUGHEY: It doesn't feel surreal I mean it feels very real it's happening, and I understand what's happening, I'm aware of what's happening. But I've never really thought about, you know, this is the result.

Part of when I look back about all the reason I know of why I'm sitting here or why I've got a nomination is to really just put my head down and thought process, process, process, do the work and enjoying the experience so much that that was reward enough.

Now let's go to the next job, put your head down and do the work. Love the process, the more process of any of that become, the more results you seem to be getting.

MORGAN: So being here now is the frontrunner to win an Oscar for Best Actor. Is that the culmination of everything you've ever work for or do you believe in a way it maybe the start of something very special

MCCONAUGHEY: I think it's a wonderful moment in my career that is in the middle of its approach. I don't feel, it doesn't feel like a destination, it doesn't. I mean very supremely honored just the gold standard in the industry I'm fortunate to work in. But I -- it doesn't feel like it's a resolution, you know, no I'm still on the approach, on the approach.

MORGAN: I tweeted the other day, are you on Twitter?


MORGAN: Absolutely, you use it a bit. I tweeted that I thought the pound for pound; I did this after watching "Wolf of Wall Street" and "Dallas Buyer's Club" then "True Detective".


MORGAN: And I felt compelled to tell the world that I thought right now pound for pound you are the Best Actor in the world.


MORGAN: And I meant it. And I think many people are saying this now about you. About the variety of what you've been doing ...


MORGAN: ... the risks you've been taking, the commitment that you've brought to these roles is really something quite special.

MCCONAUGHEY: Yeah, well thank you.

MORGAN: But that's not you. Where did you found that strength to do them because you were drifting along by your own emission (ph) for quite a while doing, I guess relatively easier movies.

MCCONAUGHEY: Well the exercise is different, muscles I mean look, that what you're talking about in the work that I've been doing that I think people are noticing. These characters have it's -- I was really able to find a very state (ph) identity. Really had -- they had clear obsessions.

MORGAN: Is that the key?

MCCONAUGHEY: That's -- yeah. To own your man to own my guy and see it from the inside out. If a clear identity (ph). A romantic comedy is not about a character's identity as much. No one cares about the work that you guys job is or what its passage. They're not obsessed with certain things. They can't be but they'll sink the romantic comedy so they float across the top.

These have been really singularly focused, obsessed characters. A lot of them live on the fringes of society, but their islands and they make up their own rules, make up their own laws, they don't play cater pander to society. Those are freedom that I found in that.

MORGAN: If you win and you're standing there on the Oscar's podium on what would be, I guess professionally, the greatest you've ever had. You're probably thinking at that moment and when you about everything in your life, everybody who's contributed to you getting to that moment.

Who are the key people when you look back over the whole time that you would feel most thankful to?

MCCONAUGHEY: Well, I've got thanks -- I've got my own personal thanks to God, I've got my own personal thanks to family in many respects, the family I've got now, the family I came from, and I've got another little secret thank for somebody I know very well that I might share if I was so fortunate to.

MORGAN: Someone that had an effect on your life.


MORGAN: What do you think you'll feel when you're standing there if you get that?

MCCONAUGHEY: Well, I'm not -- I'm -- look, I'm not there yet so ...

MORGAN: But if you do, how would you feel?

MCCONAUGHEY: ... I really haven't thought about what I would feel. I'm really not projecting myself to that position. I don't know what I would say. I haven't written anything. I don't plan on writing anything. It's called -- you know what the coupe de gras is? The finishing blow? I don't want to coupe de gras it. You're going to write a speech for something you hadn't won yet that spooks me. If I ever get back here I'll still only have one first time in this so I'm going to enjoy this head high and heart high.

MORGAN: If I could replay for you one moment in your life outside of marriage and kids ...


MORGAN: ... what would you choose?

MCCONAUGHEY: Replay that -- just any moment?

MORGAN: Any moment. The greatest moment.

MCCONAUGHEY: The greatest moment?

MORGAN: One you'd most like to live through again.

MCCONAUGHEY: The most like to live through again. Shoot. The most important ones were some of the ones that I don't want to relive through again at all.

MORGAN: Going back to that in yourself can be a great moment ...

MCCONAUGHEY: Yeah. I mean, you know, what happens to a man if they lose their father, incredible things happen to a man after they lose their father.

MORGAN: What impact did that have on you? MCCONAUGHEY: Courage, integrity, you know, anybody loses a father that's the main crutch in a man's life, and he's there for a reason because, you know, if it ever comes down to it you got, you know, my father would lean up against me.

MORGAN: So what's your father have made of you being Oscar nominee?

MCCONAUGHEY: He'd love it. He'd be hamming it up right now. He'd be hamming it up. He would love it. Absolutely. And he is.

MORGAN: He's watching you.

MCCONAUGHEY: He's making this Gumbo and his slimming meringue pie and sharing the middle life (ph).

MORGAN: Can you quite believe where you go it? I know you had a plan. I know it's been brilliantly executed. Can you quite believe it?

MCCONAUGHEY: Absolutely. Yeah. 100 percent I believe. Like I said earlier, I had no way to feel like this is a surreal moment. I'm very engaged in what's happening, extremely appreciative to understand, you know, what the reasons are that someone would say they'd be deeming me with a nomination and what's been going on with my life. I understand where I'm responsible that I understand where all that other people are responsible to that.

MORGAN: My wife has a question. She wants me to ask you.


MORGAN: How I can lose 43 pounds quickly?

MCCONAUGHEY: Go to Mexico and drink the water.

MORGAN: Matthew, best of luck. I really mean that.

MCCONAUGHEY: All right. Thank you, Piers.


MORGAN: Coming up, there maybe supporting characters in real life but these backup singers are the stars of the Oscar nominated documentary "20 Feet From Stardom" and they're here next.





BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, SINGER-SONGWRITER: It's a bit of a walk, you know, from, you know, back by the drummer over here that walk to the front is complicated. I've seen background remains to someone on unhurled (ph) position, you know, so people make that leap.


MORGAN: Bruce Springsteen talking about what you could call the unsung heroes of pop. Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, John Legend, Sheryl Crow all of them began as backup singers and the Oscar nominated film "20 Feet From Stardom" finally gives backup to their due.

Well, joining me now is Tata Vega, she's backed up Michael Jackson and Madonna to name many others. Also, Merry Clayton who famously backed up Mick Jagger among many others herself.

Later, I'll be joined by Judith Hill who sang with Stevie Wonder and Elton John and made a name for herself on NBC's The Voice.

Ladies, welcome to all of you and Happy Valentine's Day.


TATA VEGA, OSCAR-NOMINATED "20 FEET FROM STARDOM": Happy Valentine's Day. Thank you.

MORGAN: So this roll call of glorious extraordinary. Merry, you've sung with Ray Charles when you're young, Elvis Presley, the Stones, Tom Jones, Carole King, Ringo Starr, Tori Amos. Tata, you sung with Stevie Wonder, Shakka, Michael Jackson, Ray Charles, Madonna, Elton John. Judith, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Michael Jackson.

It's pretty extraordinary and yet here you are suddenly in this movie about your trade, about the backup singers and you've been Oscar nominated.

Merry, how does that feel?

CLAYTON: It feels so incredible. It feels like I was saying to the girls I'll say, "You know what, can you please just pinch me and let me know that this is not a dream and that we are really living this."

We have been riding on this red carpet ever since the film was picked up at Sundance and it was so wonderfully picked up by Harvey Weinstein, the Weinstein's company. It's been incredible.

MORGAN: And Tata, is Bruce Springsteen right? That 20 feet from the front of the stage, is it the longest walk imaginable? In the sense that that's the dream isn't it? But it's also potentially the nightmare.

VEGA: Yes. And been since you put it that way, it can be but it can work for you as well. It could be the greatest thing that could happen, that walk to -- it can be achieved. But some prefer to not make that walk. They prefer to be the frame so to speak.

MORGAN: Do you two, do you prefer to backing singers or has the dream always been, Merry, to be center stage yourself? CLAYTON: Well, you know, when I was singing background I always felt like I was center stage.

MORGAN: Right.

CLAYTON: Because I mean, you know, I mean -- if I was helping you out in your music and I help you out with your arrangements in the studio and I walk in the studio. So I'm saying, "What are we going to do?" You know, when you walk in a studio it's what the artist want, what do they want you to do?

And then they turn to you and they say, "Well, what do you think about this? What do you think about that?" So my think about that has always better than they think about that. So I've always felt like I was really center stage.

MORGAN: You began as a Raelette supporting Ray Charles on that.


MORGAN: Let's take a little look at this. This is a clip of you with Ray.


CLAYTON: All right, and I stand at the end of the stage with my head under my chin. I said "I could do this. I'm going to be a Raelette one day." I willed myself to be a Raelette

RAY CHARLES, SINGER: I hear out the Raelette to help us with this portion on.

CLAYTON: So I was sitting home one day and I got a call from Billy Preston.

"This is Bill. What are you doing?" I'm putting some clothes away. "You got to drop it and you have to come and sing for Ray."


MORGAN: Amazing footage. How do you feel when you see that?

CLAYTON: I was just so young.


CLAYTON: And I was so cute and so young.

VEGA: You are too.

MORGAN: You're still cute, Merry. C'mon.

CLAYTON: Yes. Thank you. Thank you. But it was amazing seeing that because it almost takes you back to that time.

I saw my husband who is his conductor at that time and Curtis and I were married for 32 years until he went onto heaven. But doing that period, it was such a pivotal time for me because I'd finally made it. I was Raellette. You couldn't ask for anymore than that to be the age that I was.

And then my great friend Billy Preston had called me who had played with the Beatles and had just come from England and he was regarded as the fifth beatle but for him to call me and say, "You know, you can come to sing for Ray." I said, "Ray who? What Ray are you talking about?" And we auditioned and, you know, it was just -- it was on and upwards, you know, from then on.

MORGAN: And Tata, I've got a great clip here for you. This is what the great Stevie Wonder had to say about you.

VEGA: Yes.

MORGAN: In a moment to have Stevie my musical hero talking about you.


STEVIE WONDER, SINGER: And I heard this doing all this riffs and like I said, "Oh my God", you know.

VEGA: He came back and he said, "You sound like me."

WONDER: And I head her. Is that the same person?


MORGAN: I love the way you even did in the Stevie (inaudible).

CLAYTON: Yeah. I love that.

MORGAN: I love that. You sound like him. You move like him. But more on that today, is that what you guys live for? The kind of moment like that where you hear Stevie Wonder or Ray Charles or whoever it maybe bestowing that kind of comment, that honor on you?

VEGA: Well, it was so unexpected. Of course. I'm sitting next to Merry Clayton. I'm sitting next Merry Clayton who mentors me and helps me because she came from a place where she was in an elevated place for so much longer than I've been and so I'm learning a lot from Merry. She helps me. And all the people and we really would love to thank Tremolo (ph), Morgan, Gil (inaudible), Radius and Weinstein company.

MORGAN: I think she stopped being so self deprecated. You're here for a reason. You're on this show for a reason.

VEGA: Are you kidding?

MORGAN: Is it -- you've been Oscar-nominated because love the idea ...


MORGAN: ... of you guys finally getting ...

CLAYTON: Absolutely.

MORGAN: ... the treatment and the gratitude you should get.

CLAYTON: It's wonderful.

MORGAN: I want to play -- this is greatness because "Gimme Shelter, one of the great Rolling Stones songs ever and look who pops up. Let's watch this.


CLAYTON: He said, "You want to do another one?" I said, "Sure. I'll do another one."

MICK JAGGER, THE ROLLING STONES: I mean she just did it like a couple of times, you know.

CLAYTON: So I said to myself, "I'm going to do another one. Blow them out of this room." I went in again and I did that pass on the part that says, "Rape, murder. It's just a shot away." So I had to go up another octave.

Rape, murder. It's just a shot away. It's shot away. Rape, murder yeah. It's just a shot away. It's just a shot away. It's just a shot away. Rape, murder It's shot away. It's just a shot away.


MORGAN: Unbelievable. You see, here's the thing I love Mick Jagger and I love the Rolling Stones. He could never sing like that in a million years.

CLAYTON: You better tell it, Piers. Tell it.

MORGAN: But do you feel -- Merry, you've had this wonderful career ...


MORGAN: ... you've had an amazing ride and now you've got great thing with the Oscar. But you must feel slightly frustrated when you see so many singers who clearly palpably have less good voices than you making it to be superstars in their own right. Do you feel a little bit of "why not me"?

CLAYTON: Well, as I said earlier, it was always me.

MORGAN: That's why I love you. I'm going to feel sorry for you aren't I?

CLAYTON: It was always me, you know, I mean if I'm giving my heart as I said in the film and my soul to your project, I come in -- excuse me, can I say this?


CLAYTON: I come in to kick ass and take many. I don't come just to be Ms. Prim and Proper.

MORGAN: Do you -- let me ask you one thing before we get another break?


MORGAN: Do you ever have, either of you, do ever have big stars, you don't have to name them if you don't want to, have asked you not to sing too well so you don't eclipse them?

CLAYTON: No. No. No. They never say -- you see, the thing I like about ...

MORGAN: You're saying they do? OK. Tata, come in here.


MORGAN: You've had that moment

VEGA: I don't tell who but to shut that mouth.

MORGAN: And they actually said to you, "Could you just calm it down?"

VEGA: Yeah.

MORGAN: Really? Because you were eclipsing them isn't that fascinating?

Let's take a short break and when we come back, I'm bringing Judith Hill.


MORGAN: She went from Michael Jackson's back up singer to a stand out star in NBC's The Voice.



JUDITH HILL, SINGER: Working with Michael really did inspire me and sing like wow it's OK to dream this big, it's OK to realize your dreams.

I still believe.


MORGAN: Judith Hill with the King of Pop Michael Jackson and back with me now are the stars of the Oscar-nominated "20 Feet From Stardom" with Tata Vega and Merry Clayton along with Judith Hill have found a recognition of her own on NBC's The Voice.

Judith, welcome to you. I mean it's very ...

HILL: Thank you.

MORGAN: ... poignant isn't it? To see that footage of you with Michael Jackson. They are back in stage (inaudible).


MORGAN: And some respect there.

VEGA: I love you.

CLAYTON: We love you.

MORGAN: When I see that footage, Judith, of you and Michael Jackson, it's very bittersweet isn't it because you were going to be doing a duet with him on the This Is It Tour and then of course his death cruelly robbed everybody at the chance to see that though I had tickets myself the first night in London.

Tell me about working with Michael.

HILL: Yes, I mean every time I see that footage I just can't believe it actually happened. I mean it's like a dream to be on that stage with the King of Pop. And man, Michael just rocked my world. I mean from every aspect of him, watching him on that stage, you know, with the lighting and the band and all of the different pieces on how he just created magic on that stage. It was like a front row seat to greatness. And I think that I left that experience really knowing what it means to be an artist and wanting to pursue that from my own.

MORGAN: You must have been absolutely devastated when he died. Well, and not just because you got to know him on a personal level to sadness but also your own career would have exploded on that tour I guess and you never got the chance to see if that would happen.

HILL: Well, I mean nobody would have seen that coming. It was literally like the night before I have seen Michael and we said -- I said bye to him about 12 in the midnight and the next morning he's gone and it's just like you don't even know how to feel. It's just I was in the state of shock forever and it's like -- yeah, I mean I'll never -- I never really know what to feel. It's a really bittersweet thing.

MORGAN: You sang at his funeral which obviously was again I guess a very poignant moment for you.

You've called singing backup, Judith, as a spring board that can easily turn to quicksand and I made (ph) that earlier just generally about performing. What did you mean by that?

HILL: I think that what I meant is background singing is such an awesome thing and you can really get into it and you learn from so many different people. But I think for me, I had to make that hard decision to transition. I want to -- I have this dream to be an artist and I've got to follow that. And sometimes that means putting it first and it might mean struggling with no money and hustling out there playing in clubs, doing whatever you can as an artist and then you get these big gigs that they're going to pay your bills, you can do all these things but, you know, at the end of the day I don't want to regret and I don't want to say, "Man, I wish that I had really pursued being an artist."

So sometimes you just have to make those hard decisions and turn down background singing and go for your dream if it it's hard. It's a hard road.

MORGAN: Merry, let me ask you something. When you work with all these huge stars, quite a few of them are not what I would call naturally great singers. Mick Jagger isn't particular, I don't Paul McCartney necessarily is or Elton John. They're not like what you would call, you know, absolutely top draw singing voices and yet they have become legends and superstars because they have a whole package, don't they ...


MORGAN: ... of stardom? What is that X factor, for one of the better phrase that takes you from being just a singer to being a star do you think?

CLAYTON: Well, you know, Piers, I'm still trying to figure that one out and I mean for so many years you work with all these great, great people and they won't do it without you. They just won't. Merry, what are you doing? Well, I'm -- well can you come and go to Russia? To Russia? Do I need shots? I mean what ...

MORGAN: And is that because you're basically a brilliant security blanket to them performing on stage or in a session that you can give them a power, you know, all of you, all three of you, involved in the performance which can mask any problems they may have anytime.

CLAYTON: Well, the thing that I've said before is that the ladies, we're all like preacher's kids; we came out of the church, every great singer that you know of they're going to be involved in some kind of church setting. My father was a minister, Darlene's father was a minister so it's fine. Most of the girls in the whole situation, they come from a -- I'm in a stereo background and I consider myself to be spiritual not religious but I also know that what we bring to the table is a spirit.

MORGAN: Right.

VEGA: Yes.

MORGAN: I totally agree with you.

CLAYTON: A spirit of soul that came out of the church and when you come out of that, I'm getting chills talking about, when you come out of ...

MORGAN: I'm getting chills listening to you talking about. CLAYTON: When you come out of that, Piers, and you stand up, it's a whole different thing than somebody just coming on and singing "I'm here. I'm going to sing background." No, you're not. You're going to try to sing background but it's the whole package that we bring ...

VEGA: Yes.

CLAYTON: ... when we go to those sessions and go on the road with different artist to sing.

MORGAN: OK. I want to end with very quick answers here. What has been the great pinch me moment of your career singing as a backing singer? If you could relive it again.

VEGA: My goodness this ...

MORGAN: Name one.

VEGA: Would being on your show, Piers.

MORGAN: Being on my show. Great answer.

VEGA: Yes.

MORGAN: Merry? You can't give the same answer.


MORGAN: What's has been the moment if I could say you could relive it right now?

CLAYTON: Mine was the moment that I worked with Ray Charles in Carnegie Hall.

MORGAN: Right. What a moment.

CLAYTON: And I didn't know my part and he banged it out on the piano at Carnegie Hall.

MORGAN: Fabulous. Don't forget that. I couldn't think any better. Judith, what would yours be?

HILL: Definitely singing with Michael "I Just Can't Stop Loving You", the duet and to sing him "This Close" that was definitely the pinch me moment.

MORGAN: Fabulous. Well, listen it's a delight to meet you all.

CLAYTON: Thank you.

MORGAN: And you are the great unsung heroes of so many stars.

CLAYTON: Thank you, Piers.

MORGAN: The Oscar-nominated film "20 Feet From Stardom" is currently in the theaters, also available on iTunes and DVD. Good luck at the Oscars, ladies.

CLAYTON: Thank you so much, Piers.

MORGAN: And have a great Valentine's night.

CLAYTON: Thanks for having us.

MORGAN: So you won't be shy of offers tonight.

CLAYTON: Thank you.

MORGAN: And we'll be right back.


MORGAN: Ice-skating's taking center stage at the Sochi Olympics of course but we want you to meet some girls from Harlem, New York who just as passionate about the sport but normally might never experience this magic. What these kids achieve on and off the ice. It's quite amazing and the woman behind the success is our first CNN hero of 2014.


SHARON COHEN, CNN HERO: I love the crispy feeling of the air. The sound of my skate clenching on the ice.

Skating relieves me from everything. I just want to fly. I just don't want to stop.

I heard that there were some girls who wanted to figure sake in Harlem.

Growing up, I was a competitive figure skater and I knew that skating wasn't a diverse sport. There was not an access for kids in Harlem community.

They were so eager to get started. I began teaching them and it was really inspiring for me.

Now, we serve over 200 girls a year.

The best part about skating is that it gives you quality that you use the rest of your life. They gain discipline, perseverance.

Step, cross, step, cross. Excellent, girls.

They fall down and they get back up and they learn they can do that at anything. It's a building block.

Skating feels (inaudible) but education comes first.

So before they even get on the ice they have to get their homework done to get to the rinks, the minimum of three afternoons a week.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Algebra was not my subject and I feel that -- Ms. Sharon hired a special tutor for me. That felt like "Hey, you have to get back up".

It was vegetables.

Now I'm doing way better in school. I'm like yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ladies and gentlemen, Harlem Ice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want girls to believe and know they can be anything they put their hearts and minds to.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not all about skating. Ms. Sharon is teaching us to be the best we can be in life.


MORGAN: Every week, we'll be honoring a new CNN hero, an everyday person doing extraordinary things to help others. If you know someone who deserves the recognition then go to now and tell us all about them.

That's all for us tonight though. We'll see you back here on Monday night at 9 PM Eastern.