Ahead of Philly performance, Patti LaBelle remembers Aretha Franklin

Patti LaBelle Aretha Franklin

 The passing of Aretha Franklin is an emotional experience for her family, friends, fans, fellow musicians and collaborators, and all who ever heard the Queen of Soul’s powerful voice. All will miss her, including Philadelphia’s Patti LaBelle, a woman who – as the Godmother of Soul –  shared a musical and cultural heritage with Franklin.

Patti LaBelle remembers Aretha Franklin

“I am deeply saddened about the passing of the Queen of Soul and my sister in song, Aretha Franklin,” LaBelle said in a statement shared on Twitter. “Today the world has experienced a tremendous loss. Aretha was a rare treasure whose unmatched musical genius helped craft the soundtrack to the lives of so many. My sympathy, love and prayers go out to her family, loved ones and fans around the globe.”

Aretha Franklin Patti LaBelle

Patti LaBelle to perform at Philly’s Dell Center

LaBelle is booked to play West Philadelphia’s Dell Center on August 23, in what promises to be a glorious meeting for the hometown heroine and her passionate fans.

The Godmother of Soul recently told Metro that she has more on her plate now than any time in her five-decades-long career. “And God bless to that,” LaBelle said, looking forward to continued blessings as she released her first album in 10 years – “something you’d never expect from Patti” – a smoky jazz recording, Bel Hommage, which is a joint venture between Sony and her own label, GPE Records. “There’s plenty of music to come.”

A lot more has happened to LaBelle in the last 12 months. Along with getting a second star on Philly’s Walk of Fame on Broad Street with LaBelle trio members Sarah Dash and Nona Hendyrx, Miss Patti – as she is affectionately referred to – has introduced the Patti’s Good Life line of goodies to her growing culinary retail enterprise, she has also acted in several episodes of her old pal, producer-director Lee Daniels’ new Star, series on Fox, after having already appeared in his Empire, series.

There are also more cook books to be finished, and additional seasons of her food television programs to be filmed. Plus, LaBelle has kept her promise of more music, first with July’s release from Philly pianist, Jamar Jones, entitled Fatherless Child. Fans of LaBelle’s 2017 jazz album, Bel Hommage,  have already heard Jamar in action with his boss, as he arranged and played on that recording.

As for any further solo recordings, LaBelle mentioned everything from a dance album to a gospel album and beyond in the next year; an ambitious slate for any artist, let alone one at 73 years old. Luckily and thankfully, in her view, opportunities have blossomed forth and opened up for women, regardless of age.

“It’s not so much about hustling. I was always too shy to hustle or be pushy,” said LaBelle. “I believe now is a time of greater, more diverse opportunities for woman – and in my case, black women – to do it all and do it all well. I have been doing this now for over 50 years, and it seems as if the older I get, the more comes on my plate.”

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