There are more perks to being the first lady than being serenaded by Sir Paul McCartney, although that's certainly a highlight. Michelle Obama is especially keen on using her position to spread the word about young artists she feels deserving of recognition for their talent.

"When Paul McCartney was here singing 'Michelle,' I was like, I'm done; I can go home now," she said of her encounter with the Beatle in this month's Harper's Bazaar. But Obama's musical leanings were fostered young. "I was fortunate to grow up in a family that appreciates music," she said. "I remember very early on being the good fairy in 'Hansel and Gretel' and having to sing a solo, which was humiliating," she recalled.

Now, she wants to bring that same consciousness to American youth. "We want to lift young people up," she said. "The country needs to be mindful that we have all these diamonds out there, and it would be a shame not to invest in those talents." The First Lady is also aware of the international reach of the arts. "That's the beauty of arts and culture, music and dance," she said. "It's a universal voice. When I travel to other countries, usually the first thing the spouses do is introduce you to their cultures through music and dance."

Obama remembered fondly one day when she and French First Lady Carla Bruni got together for a jam session. "We gave her a Gibson guitar. When I came to visit, she pulled it out and played the most beautiful song. We were sitting there with family, and we started singing," she said.

The First Lady also considers her own children's cultural education, although she doesn't mind some pop indulgences. "I don't want them to develop just one taste. I want them to feel the power in country as much as they feel it in Justin Bieber," she said. "There is some power in the Bieber! But we don't have Fever." –AMY LEE

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