Ariana Grande’s soulful sound was absolutely influenced by the Queen of Soul, herself, Aretha Franklin. Today, Ari paid tribute to Aretha by performing at her funeral.
Ariana Grande delivered a moving performance of Aretha Franklin‘s “(You Make Me Feel Like) Natural Woman” at the Queen of Soul’s funeral today, Aug. 31. The Sweetener singer’s emotional rendition of one of Aretha’s biggest hits brought tears to the eyes of the thousands of mourners who came to pay their respects at the Greater Grace Temple, in Detroit, Michigan. Ahead of her performance, Ariana was seen in the church mingling with attendees, and had an in-depth conversation with Hillary Clinton. Wearing a short, silk black dress and her signature ponytail, Ariana stunned the crowd with her soulful tribute to Aretha. Following her performance and a standing O from the mourners, the Bishop Charles H. Ellis III pulled Ari up to the podium, to tell the crowd that she was an icon, herself. And he offered his apologies, for thinking she was a Taco Bell special, before seeing her today. Oh boy.
Following Aretha’s death from pancreatic cancer on Aug. 16, Ariana was asked by Jimmy Fallon to pay tribute to the Queen on his show. Ari performed “(You Make Me Feel Like) Natural Woman” with The Roots, and cried as she remembered one of her greatest inspirations. “forever,” the “No Tears Left To Cry” singer wrote beneath a video of Aretha singing “I Say a Little Prayer” after news broke that she passed away. She also shared a picture of the two together, alongside several heart emojis. “I met her a few times. We sang at the White House, and she was so sweet, and she was so cute,” Ari told Jimmy Fallon ahead of her performance. “I was like, ‘How are you a real person?’ It’s an honor to have met her, and we’re gonna celebrate her.”
— Variety (@Variety) August 31, 2018
Aretha’s celebration of life was a star-studded affair, and we’d expect nothing less for a woman whose impact spanned to so many. Ariana joined Faith Hill, Stevie Wonder, Yolanda Adams, Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia Barrino-Taylor, Jennifer Holliday and more as performers at the event. Additionally, Former President Bill Clinton, Cicely Tyson, Tyler Perry, Rev. Al Sharpton and others gave moving remarks throughout the day.