Aretha Franklin passed away at her home surrounded by family and close friends. She had quite the career, with 44 Grammy nominations and 18 wins. Brad Byrd was joined by Gina Moore, singer, musician, and inspiration, to talk about Aretha’s amazing life and career.
Brad Byrd – Welcome to In-Depth. She was the Queen of Soul, she is the Queen of Soul. But Aretha Franklin was so much more than that. She died today as we have reported, and it is no wonder that sales of downloads of her music, her art, have been spiking tonight. I’m joined tonight by our own local treasure, Gina Moore who’s voice and her interpretation of the music she shares has certainly been an inspiration. Gina, thank you so much for being here tonight.
Gina Moore – Thank you. Appreciate you including me on this segment.
Brad – Well, I tell you, the first, time I heard Aretha Franklin’s voice was…I had an ear piece in plugged into a transistor radio and the audio quality wasn’t that good. That voice came through. Describe that.
Gina – Yes, there was no other voice like Aretha Franklin. It’s like listening to Whitney Houston, or Dionne Warwick. Those voices are there own voices. There’s nothing that can compare to that. You can’t mimic them, cause it’s their voice, and Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul….
Brad – She can do it all.
Gina – She can do it all. She can do it all, and she did it all. She did it all. There was the Grammy’s back in 1998, Pavarotti was supposed to sing “Nessun dorma” and he became ill. So they asked Aretha Franklin to step in at the last minute to sing this song, which I think is in Latin. And she…
Brad – Knocked it out of the park.
Gina – She knocked it out. I think Sting introduced her, and he didn’t really know if she was gonna pull it off. He just kind of looked at her and then she sang the song and the audience went crazy. You could see Faith Hill’s face, and Celine Dion was in the audience, and they were going crazy just when she finished that song because she took it to another level that we didn’t think that she could even do. I stood there in my room applauding her. I said, oh my Lord, Aretha.
Brad – Tonight, I was listening to NPR on my way from dinner to work, and there was an interview she did in 1999 and they played a song, and I’m embarrassed to say I had never heard this song. It was a recording by Aretha Franklin of Skylark. And we’re so used to her belting out these great Mo-Town sounds of the 60s. But this kind of reminded me of the type of arrangement that King Cole did with Stardust. And that presentation…
Gina – Well, she can do it all. That’s why she was the Queen. She could do it all. She could do any genre you put in front of her, she could do it. She started doing all the rock and roll stuff with the pink Cadillac. She was just amazing, whatever she wanted to do, she did.
Brad – How did she impact your life, as a musician? I know you and your sister…
Gina – My sister and I, Joan Moore, we’ve been singing as the Brown Sisters since 1986. When we got the name the Brown Sisters was at the Civic Theater, back in 1986. And so, Larry Miller was in the audience of one of our shows, and the show was called the 1940s Radio Hour. And he was in the audience and he said, you’ve got to keep this going. And so after the show, we got a little group, a band together, and we met in Larry’s little garage, and most of the songs we did were Aretha Franklin songs.
Brad – And I think we have a picture…Here she is with former President George W. Bush. And we have a picture I believe of you and Joan during those days, and the impact on your life, similar to Aretha Franklin, is the fact that it started in church. Gospel roots. And there’s Joan with you right there. But you were at the Liberty…
Gina – Liberty Missionary Baptist Church. 701 Oak Street. That was the church that my sister and I were raised in. Our family was raised in that church and baptized in that church. That’s where we started singing, in the choir, like Aretha. She started singing in the choir, her father was the pastor of the church that she was raised in. And so, we grew our roots through gospel, and that’s where you get the feeling, the soul of the music, you know what I mean?
Brad – In the 1970s, especially during the disco era, Donna Summer was very hot at that time, and there have been some music critics that said Aretha Franklin’s time has come and gone, it’s been a good run. But she turned out to fool everybody because of the Blues Brothers. She was a great actress, too. The song “Think” and the way she belted that out, she was back big time.
Gina – She was. She was awesome. I love that movie. I love those two brothers and how they came in the restaurant and she was telling her boyfriend, I guess, he was trying to go off with the band. And she was telling them, you better think, think about what you’re trying to do to me.
Brad – There you go, there you go.
Gina – Aretha was awesome.
Brad – She did more than just change music in so many ways, she’s the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Gina – Isn’t that awesome?
Brad – Incredible. And also, the NAACP Hall of Fame, but she was a catalyst for women’s rights with that one song….
Gina – R-E-S-P-E-C-T!
Brad – Right. And that was originally recorded by Otis Redding, but she took that…
Gina – And made it her own.
Brad – And this is probably about three or four years before the women’s rights movement really got going, and she was also a civil rights advocate.
Gina – Isn’t that something. Yes, she was a powerful woman. She was a leader, she set an example for the African American women that anything is possible. And just go for it. That’s what she did.
Brad – And words that are still relevant today.
Gina – Yes. Be respected. Respect others and be respected.
Brad – I know that you told me that your sister did a lot of Aretha songs.
Gina – She did all Aretha. I just did the oohs and the ahs.
Brad – Right at the beginning of the segment we had the Natural Woman iconic song that she did. I don’t want to put you on the spot, but can you just give me just a little sample of that.
Gina – (singing) Looking out, on the morning rain, I used to feel so uninspired. And when I knew I had to face another day, oh, it made me feel so tired. Before the day I met you, life was so unkind. But your the piece to my peace of mind. And you make me feel, yes you make me feel, you make me feel like a natural woman.
Brad – I think we’ll just finish out the rest of this newscast with Gina Moore here, but I tell you what, Gina, thank you so much.
Gina – Thank you so much, sweetheart.
Brad – It is always good to see you. We started out with a great artist, and we finished wit ha great artist here. Thank you for carrying on this conversation with me.
Gina – You’re very welcome. Thank you, Brad. Appreciate you.