Now y’all already know, when these awards shows try to honor our late legends we scrutinize each performance to the high heavens. And honestly, most times folks fall way short. However, there are those rare occasions where the singers, all of them, knock it out of the park. Thankfully, last night’s American Music Awards may have produced that anomaly with their Aretha Franklin musical tribute.
First things first, when getting a tribute together you have to make sure those involved can actually sing. It seems like an obvious assertion, but, believe it or not, this unfortunately still needs to be said. This is even more true when pay homage to a woman recognized as “The Queen of Soul” — the singers need to be able to sang! And that they did.
During the AMAs on Tuesday night, the show closed out by bringing Gladys Knight, Donnie McClurkin, Ledisi, Cece Winans, and Mary Mary together to pay tribute to Franklin who passed on August 16th. All these people got pipes! Yes Lawd!
The acclaimed group took the AMAs audience to church by beautifully performing songs from Aretha’s 1972 album Amazing Grace. It was great. It was awesome. It was exactly what a tribute to an icon should be — reminiscent of her legendary sound. And it was all thanks to Ricky Minor who produced the tribute and wanted to focus on ‘Retha’s gospel roots.
In An Interview With The Grio Ricky Stated:
“There are so many songs to choose from and this tribute is to specifically recognize her contribution with the Amazing Grace gospel album. She was at the top of her career with No. 1 hits everywhere but she decided to do a gospel album because of her roots and that became one of the best-selling albums of her career. That project gave people a glimpse into her life because she was singing something she knew. She grew up in the church and she was able to convey these lyrics with so much heart and meaning. She sang from a different place than the mind or the body. This was a spiritual experience. Every performance she gave meant something to her. She never compromised who she was. She put her heart in it.”
HipHollywood, spoke to CeCe Winans just before she hit the stage to sing “Mary Don’t You Weep.” And while Winans was well aware of the enormity of tackling an Aretha song, she said her main priority was NOT sounding like Aretha.
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