With One Performance, Aretha Franklin Reminded the World What a Real Singer Sounds Like

Source: AP
Source: AP

During Tuesday night's broadcast of the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors, the Queen of Soul walked out onstage with the most casual grace imaginable. 

Dressed in a luxurious fur, she set her clutch down on top of the piano before sitting at the keys to begin to sing and play Carole King's "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" for a packed auditorium at the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington, D.C. She blew everyone away — including King, an honoree who couldn't keep the joy off her face. She shed her fur during the performance as she slayed the bridge, drawing the audience to their feet.

Franklin's voice has aged beautifully. She can still hit her high notes flawlessly, and the new subtle rasp gave the song's praise of organic, unvarnished womanhood a special resonance. 

Few were more impressed with the performance than King herself, though President Barack Obama wiping away a single tear spoke volumes. King co-wrote the song with her husband Gerry Goffin for Franklin, who released a recording in 1967. It became one of the Queen of Soul's signature songs, and it's clear even at 73 years old, Franklin still owns it.

Watch the full performance below. 

Source: YouTube

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Tom Barnes

Tom Barnes is a senior staff writer at Mic focused on music, activism and the intersection between the two. He's based in New York and can be reached at tom@mic.com.

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