Yesterday, the world lost a legend. Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, tragically passed away at 76 years old after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer. The legendary musician was one of Ariana Grande‘s biggest inspirations, so when Jimmy Fallon asked her to pay tribute to the late musician with a performance on The Tonight Show, she wasn’t sure if she could do it.
TMZ reports that the 25-year-old wasn’t set to sing on last night’s show and initially turned down the request because she thought it would be too emotional. Questlove apparently approached her and was able to convince her to sing one of Aretha’s biggest hits, “Natural Woman,” with The Roots, and while she was able to slay the performance, she allegedly “broke down in tears” as soon as she left the stage.
Ari met Aretha a few times over the years and fondly remembers a time when the legend casually gave her a phone call.
“She called me one time and she goes, ‘Hi, it’s Aretha!’ And I go, ‘Franklin??’” AG recalls.
Despite being very emotional over Aretha’s passing, the “God is a Woman” crooner did her best to stay positive when talking about her impact.
She says, “It’s an honor to have met her and we’re going to celebrate her.”
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