She recounts the musical loves from her formative years: the Beatles, the Kinks, the Rolling Stones, Dusty Springfield, Motown, Martha Reeves, Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Smokey Robinson, the Beach Boys, the Mamas and the Papas, Traffic, and Fleetwood Mac. She expands on musical greats, her voice soaring above the graduates as she channels Marvin Gaye in "I Heard It through the Grapevine," Noel Harrison in "The Windmills of Your Mind," Glen Campbell in "Wichita Lineman," Aretha Franklin in "I Say a Little Prayer," and fellow commencement honoree Carole King’s "It’s Too Late."
She encourages the students to remember to remain open to the shifts and changes that will necessarily shape their lives, and that "what looks like an ending might actually be the start of a new beginning." She closes with a reflection on the incredible privilege it is to enrich one’s life with music, and share it with the world in the best possible way one can find. Among the privileges upon which Berklee students reflected that morning was the chance to share the reflections and wisdom of this pop icon, whose own work has helped shape popular music as we know it today.