Michelle Williams: Aretha Franklin gave me confidence in my voice

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 18 August 2018
Michelle Williams

Michelle Williams

Michelle Williams says Aretha Franklin gave her confidence in her voice when she worried it was not "pop" enough

Michelle Williams says Aretha Franklin gave her confidence in her voice.

The Destiny's Child singer was originally worried that her voice was not "pop" enough to make it in the music business but listening to music from Aretha, who died earlier this week at the age of 76, helped her to appreciate her own sound.

She told Billboard: "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."

And when Michelle, 38, got to see Aretha perform at the White House in 2015, 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."

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