Tonight (9/22), Kelly Clarkson hit the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Festival to mid-night to perform a beautiful tribute to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. The artist performed her classic hit, Respect, displaying an overwhelming amount of soul with a funky beat as she remembered her biggest inspiration.
Tonight is not the first time that Clarkson has praised the Queen of Soul. We've watched Kelly give tribute throughout the years, covering many of Franklins biggest hits like Natural Woman on American Idol and I Never Loved a Man at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in 2013.
The day that news broke of Aretha, Kelly took to Twitter to express her condolences and the huge role that Franklin played in Clarkson's career.
Aretha Franklin is the reason why I sing from that part deep inside of me that few could ever reach. She was my favorite and will always be. What a gift she has left all of us with her musical footprints. There will never be another like her. She was truly special. #QueenOfSoul— Kelly Clarkson (@kelly_clarkson) August 16, 2018
Earlier this year, Kelly sat down for an interview with Rolling Stones about her latest album, "Meaning of Life," and the musical inspiration that went into making it. The artist didn't hold back in her praise for Franklin, stating that the flawless feeling Aretha delivers is nothing short of heartfelt.
"People like her, you hear them sing and it’s almost as if they don’t need words. It’s the sound, the tone, the ache in their voice. Maybe it’s because I went through a few things growing up, but I really fed on that. “Ain’t No Way,” all those songs, her tone and her voice were almost their own story. There’s very few singers like that – Bonnie Raitt, Annie Lennox. Aretha is a flawless vocalist, and they didn’t have Auto-Tune then. It was all feeling. And when it was slightly off-key, it was perfect. It was heartfelt."
This year we saw a beautiful outpouring of tributes for the Queen of Soul after her unfortunate passing. At 76 years old, she passed away surrounded by family and friends at her home in Detroit. She had reportedly been suffering from Pancreatic Cancer.
Her family released this statement:
‘In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. ‘We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world. Thank you for your compassion and prayers. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.’
Aretha did not receive her title as the 'Queen of Soul' for no reason. Her chillingly beautiful music has the ability to speak directly to your heart in ways no other can replicate. Her moving performances paired with her four-octave vocal range makes Franklin a true wonder. As a little girl, she sang Gospel music and her soulful voice led her to stardom.
Aretha is known for a plethora of radio hits including "I Say a Little Prayer," "Think," "(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman," "Chain of Fools," "Respect," and more. The latter, being the most notable song tied to her name, was originally written and sang by a man, Otis Redding. What a power move on the queens end to take that record and spin it into an immortal anthem for women.
In an interview with Elle, Franklin knew that the song had the potential to become something much more.
"I had just moved out of my father's home and had my own little apartment," she opened up. "I was cleaning the place, and I had a good radio station on. I loved it. I loved it! I felt I could do something different with it, and my sister Carolyn, who was an RCA recording artist, and I got together on the background."
If you missed any of this year's iHeartRadio Music Festival, we've got you covered! Fans can re-live all of the best moments from the unforgettable weekend by tuning into a two-night television special, exclusively on The CW, on October 7th and October 8th from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET/PT.
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