On 16th August, four London artists will release a breath-taking cover of ‘Natural Woman’ in honour of Aretha Franklin, sometimes labelled the ‘Queen of Soul’ but always revered and loved as a woman who demanded R.E.S.P.E.C.T.
Aretha passed away four years ago on 16th August 2018 but left a legacy of incredible music that has twice placed her in the top ten of Rolling Stone’s ‘100 Greatest Artists of All Time’. Despite being known as a musical legend, she was a traumatized child, a teenage mother, a gospel prodigy and a civil rights champion, all things which she channelled into her music defining catalogue of soul, filling her songs with spirit; she translated that feel and fire into everything she did, but, more than anything she was defined by her voice.
Many came after her, emboldened by her, but none came close because more than any of them Franklin possessed a roar that wasn’t only technically brilliant, it was a natural, self derived instrument that testified to her truths. This roar of a voice was something so moving and inspiring that it surely makes her the original Lioness, but above all it makes her the ultimate ‘Natural Woman’ because what made Aretha special was the soul, the humanity, the natural way she gave nerve to people when they were being beaten down and killed. Upon her death four years ago, the Obamas said:
“Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade-our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard won respect”
It seems fitting then that as a mark of their respect for what Aretha has brought to them, four London based musicians will release their brilliant cover of the iconic ‘Natural Woman’. As we all reveled in Women’s football putting a smile on the face of Football, I’m sure it was not lost on us that we can only function as a society when everyone feels powerful enough to embrace their truths, our Lionesses didn’t ultimately triumph by anything other than self empowerment; without strong natural women we are nothing.
Marie Naffah, Celine Love, Fox Gunn and Viia have joined their incredible talents to create something very powerful indeed, following on from their acoustic charity release, they are releasing this stunning produced version which will quite simply take your breath away. If this acts as your introduction to these four very special artists then the song will have taken a step in the right direction but if this song makes you feel the soul of Aretha coursing through your veins, if this song makes you feel empowered and ready to tackle the day, the month, the year, then I’m sure Marie, Celine, Fox and Viia will feel that they have achieved their goal. Hear them sing, feel their honesty coursing through the music, embracing their own truths and their own nature and tap into four modern women letting the legacy of Aretha flow through their music.