Singing other people’s material was perceived, I think, as a weakness of my persona. The effect, though, was to make me dig my heels in and try even harder to combine the two. There was a moment when I was doing jazz, with “Something Cool,” from “Girl At Her Volcano.” But I didn’t follow up on it right away. I went back and recorded originals, other albums. Then Linda Ronstadt released those records arranged by Nelson Riddle. So, when I decided to return to it, I was talking it over with Don Was, who was my producer, and I wanted to do a guitar-based record. He suggested the bandoneón, which is how that record, “Pop Pop,” ended up with this Left Bank, café sound. I thought if I did a piano record it would bury me. It almost buried me anyway. The L.A. Times did a review with two journalists on the same page, a pop writer and a jazz writer, and the jazz writer tore me apart. What was happening? Was I being punished?
You’ve talked in the past about having premonitions: do you still have them?
I do. My sixth sense seems to hear bad things coming. And I have a powerful connection with my daughter. There was this year when we slept together when we had the same dream three times. That was pretty phenomenal. I’m also a bird-catcher – birds really like me and sit near. But that’s just a part of being tuned in to another way of seeing the world – you can hear all kinds of things if you just watch and listen; the world’s always talking to you.