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Oprah’s Master Class: The Podcast

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.

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Usher

R&B superstar Usher Raymond IV catapulted from breakout teen performer to multi-platinum music sensation. Usher details how he dealt with fame at a young age and the role that family has played in shaping his career and life along the way. Usher is an eight-time Grammy winner and has seen his albums go platinum more than 65 times over the course of 20+ years. Usher shares why he reconnected with the father he barely knew only a short time before his unfortunate death. He discusses what it meant for him to work with his mother as his manager and why they amicably parted ways. Usher shares what he learned from both his marriages and reflects on the dangers of being a young black man in today's world. Usher says that unconditional love and doing something you're passionate about are the real secrets to a lifetime of happiness.

32mins

14 Feb 2019

Rank #1

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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. 

31mins

2 Aug 2018

Rank #2

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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. 

31mins

26 Jul 2018

Rank #3

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Dr. Maya Angelou

The late poet, author, icon and activist Dr. Maya Angelou speaks about her creative process, the power of words and how she overcame a traumatic childhood. Dr. Angelou says that in order to be the best human being you can be, you must follow one simple directive: "Just do right." She also discusses what it felt like to stand side-by-side with leaders of the civil rights movement. Dr. Angelou’s most notable work, “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings,” in on TIME magazine’s list of the “100 Best Non-Fiction Books of All Time.”

32mins

7 Mar 2019

Rank #4

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Stevie Nicks

As a member of Fleetwood Mac and as a solo artist, singer/songwriter Stevie Nicks has produced more than 40 Top 50 hits, sold more than 140 million records and received nearly 20 Grammy nominations. Even before they joined Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham were a couple, but that changed shortly after 1975. Stevie opens up about why she and Lindsey broke up, what it meant for the band and why she says, "Never go out with rock stars." Stevie shares how her mother's life lessons influenced her music career and how her passing has led Stevie to do some difficult soul searching. Stevie also discusses her addiction to drugs and how a plastic surgeon's warning convinced her to go to rehab.

33mins

13 Dec 2018

Rank #5

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Oprah Winfrey, Part 2

In Part 2 of Oprah Winfrey’s “Master Class” discussion, she shares how “The Oprah Winfrey Show” started and how it healed her. Oprah also explains why she believes she was cast in the movie “The Color Purple.” Oprah offers spiritual lessons she’s learned about finding your purpose, listening to the universe and why our lives matter.

33mins

7 Feb 2019

Rank #6

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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.

35mins

27 Sep 2018

Rank #7

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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.

37mins

9 Aug 2018

Rank #8

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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.

33mins

22 Nov 2018

Rank #9

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Grant Hill

Grant Hill is one of the best-known players in professional basketball. After back-to-back National Championships with Duke University, Grant went on to play for nearly 20 years in the NBA. When he was a child, Grant's father, who attended Yale and played in the NFL, set a high bar--if Grant wanted to play basketball he had to get good grades. On top of emphasizing academics, his parents also taught him to live with respect for people and for the game. Grant carried that lesson with him through life and says it helped him to understand that great players make their teammates better. In his first six seasons in the NBA, Grant led the Detroit Pistons to the playoffs three times in a row. Then, Grant's career was nearly destroyed by a debilitating ankle injury. But after four surgeries and a life-threatening infection, Grant found his fighting spirit and managed to come out on top. More than that, he says he came to believe that our wounds make us part of who we are.

28mins

27 Dec 2018

Rank #10

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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.

27mins

6 Dec 2018

Rank #11

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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.

33mins

16 Aug 2018

Rank #12

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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.

37mins

23 Aug 2018

Rank #13

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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.

26mins

25 Oct 2018

Rank #14

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Tyler Perry

Actor, producer, writer and director Tyler Perry discusses his difficult childhood, his struggles as a playwright and his path to becoming a media mogul. Despite enduring emotional, physical and sexual abuse as a child, Tyler says he always knew he would grow up to be somebody. Tyler credits God and his mother’s love for guiding him along the way, and discusses his rocky relationship with the man he calls his father, despite lifelong suspicions that he isn’t Tyler's biological dad. Tyler also talks about becoming a parent at the age of 44 and how fatherhood has shifted his life forever.

35mins

21 Mar 2019

Rank #15

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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.

34mins

11 Oct 2018

Rank #16

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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.

31mins

29 Nov 2018

Rank #17

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Robin Roberts

"Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts opens up about her brave battle with breast cancer and how she uses her diagnosis to help others. She shares her most valuable life lessons, including how to be true to yourself and listen to your inner voice. Robin also reveals the two most influential people she’s ever met.

33mins

18 Apr 2019

Rank #18

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Lorne Michaels

Creator and producer of “Saturday Night Live,” Lorne Michaels discusses the landmark series that changed television and comedy forever. Lorne shares what he's learned from being at the helm for more than 25 years, and his thoughts on the power of laughter and taking risks. He reflects on the importance of changing with the times and the value of comedy as a political tool. Lorne also discusses the tragic loss of “SNL” cast members John Belushi and Chris Farley.

24mins

28 Mar 2019

Rank #19

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Jeff Bridges

Golden Globe- and Oscar-winning actor Jeff Bridges made his debut on television as young boy alongside his father, legendary actor Lloyd Bridges, in the television series "Sea Hunt." Throughout his career, Jeff has been applauded for his ability to shine in an array of roles with his "shaggy charm," gaining wide popularity and respect from critics. He has been nominated for an Academy Award seven times for films such as "The Last Picture Show," "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot" and “True Grit.” Jeff garnered his first win for his turn as a fading country star in "Crazy Heart," a role that reunited him with his teenage dream of making music and also launched a tour with his band, The Abiders. Jeff shares the joy of returning to music and opens up about his upbringing as a product of Hollywood royalty. Jeff also explains his "aimless" approach to his performances, why he believes in being present and the value of living a happy life.

32mins

25 Apr 2019

Rank #20