Patti LaBelle has love for Lee Daniels, but there are some things she just won’t do. Even for a friend.
The music legend, who made a memorable appearance on the season one finale of “Empire,” detailed a conversation she had with Daniels, who wanted her to do something “daring” when she returns for season two of the hit show.
“We talked about it about three months ago. He said ‘LaLa,’ — he calls me ‘LaLa’ — ‘would you take your wig off?’ I said, ‘Hell no,’” LaBelle laughingly explained during a recent interview with The Huffington Post. “So he’s trying to do something daring with me, but I ain’t going out like that. I love you Lee, but no, no. Viola Davis did it well on ‘How To Get Away With Murder,’ but not Miss Patti. I can’t do it.”
Although fans won’t get to see LaBelle follow Davis’ lead, they will get to hear the singer in a new light as she gears up for the release of her debut Jazz album. The 13-track offering, which Labelle says is tentatively set for a late 2015 release, will include renditions of tunes from Nina Simone (“Wild Is the Wind”), Frank Sinatra (“Softly As I Leave You”), and Gloria Lynne (“The Folks That Live On The Hill”) among others.
As she enjoys blending classic music into her new material, a few of today’s singers have caught her ear and she’s impressed.
“I’m very happy to hear some of the young singer’s going back to old school, like Tyrese, Jill [Scott], and Johnny Gill,” LaBelle said. “They’re singing songs like they used to be sung — with basic R&B chord changes and basic stories.”
LaBelle’s praise for current R&B vocalists contrasts criticism leveled at the artists from veteran singers who feel they are “taking the romance out” out of the genre and leaving “nothing to the imagination.”
“They’re not disgusting, they’re not vulgar, said LaBelle, who admitted to performing current ballads at her shows. I include some these songs in my shows now — I do ‘Shame’ by Tyrese and Johnny Gill’s ‘Game Changer’ and Charlie Wilson’s ‘Goodnight Kisses.’ I also love Jill Scott’s new project, so there’s hope.”
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