Lzzy Hale Remembers Aretha Franklin: ‘Not Many Singers Have This Gift’
"It amazed me that a voice could sound like that."
Lzzy Hale of Halestorm is one of the most powerful voices in hard rock and metal, but today, she -- like most of the world -- has Aretha Franklin on her mind. Franklin died earlier today at the age of 76.
"It always sounded like she was channeling something, with no physical effort, almost oblivious of her own magic," Hale tells Loudwire, in an exclusive interview. "She was a vessel for the closest thing we’ll ever come to an angel on earth. She had one of the special voices that gifts the world with something otherworldly. Not many singers have this gift."
Franklin started out singing slickly produced pop music for Columbia Records in the early '60s, recording 10 albums for the label, but it was when she signed to Atlantic and released 1967's I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You -- recorded at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama -- that her true potential started to show. That album contained her signature hit, a cover of Otis Redding's "Respect." Later that year, she followed with Aretha Arrives, including a cover of the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction" (the first of many rock songs she would eventually cover). The following year, she released her masterpiece, Lady Soul, including "Chain of Fools" and "(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman." She continued scoring pop and R&B hits through the '80s and even the '90s. Her last top 40 hit was 1998's "A Rose Is Still a Rose."
"She remained relevant through almost five decades, and in this business, that is no small feat! I think it’s a true testament to her talent, and just proves again, that it doesn’t matter what age, color, gender you are, if you can sing like that... your legend will live forever," says Hale.
For many, "Respect" will be the song that is most closely associated with Franklin, both because of her powerhouse performance, but also because of how Franklin altered the lyrics to make the song into a feminist and civil rights anthem. Otis Redding sang from the perspective of a man coming home and demanding respect from his wife/girlfriend; Franklin changed it so it was the woman demanding respect from the man.
"I love how she flipped the lyrics of 'Respect,'" says Hale. "The anthem lives on and is very relevant to what women are still fighting through in 2018. Women like Aretha are beacons of light through the dark woods, carving a path of hope for us to follow. She touched this earth and left it better than she found it. Now she’s teaching the angels how to wail!"
Halestorm are currently on tour with In This Moment and New Year's Day; get their tour dates here.
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