Michelle Williams says Aretha Franklin gave her confidence in her voice.
The Destiny’s Child singer has explained how at first she was worried about her voice because it wasn’t “pop” enough. She has said that after listening to Aretha, it made her appreciate her own sound.
Speaking to Billboard, she said: “I remember when I first got in Destiny’s Child, a childhood friend of mine — music producer James ‘Big Jim’ Right, who has done some producing for Aretha — made me this CD of music I should be listening to. On that CD was so much Aretha Franklin. He said, ‘Watch how she gets in the pocket of the song, how she grooves. Just study her.’ At the time, I didn’t know if my voice was radio friendly — it’s not that crystal-clear pop voice — and Aretha gave me some confidence. She grew up in the church, and she would always be herself, whether she was singing or hollering. She inspired me to own my unique voice: Whoever likes it likes it, and whoever doesn’t, it’s okay.”
Back in 2015 the singer got to see Aretha perform at the White House, where she treated the session like a class and took notes.
She said: “When I’m around folks like Aretha, school is in session. When we both performed at the White House in 2015, I literally sat Indian-style in the back. I didn’t want my original seat. I was like, ‘Aretha Franklin is here, get my books and my pencil and my notepad.’ Her voice is everything. She is everything. I’m not even ready to say she was everything — I can’t bring myself to say anything past tense about her yet.
“I learned so much from the way she let the spirit take over. I love that whether she was in the White House or Madison Square Garden, you were going to get the same type of show. I tell people all the time, “I don’t care if I’m performing for 20 people or 2,000, you’re going to get the same energy.” And you learn that from legends like Aretha Franklin.”
Earlier this week the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, sadly passed away.