Celine Dion Shares What She Learned From Aretha Franklin (Exclusive)

Celine Dion is sharing some soulful wisdom that Aretha Franklin once taught her.

On Saturday, some of the world’s greatest singers gathered in Los Angeles for Aretha! A GRAMMY Celebration for the Queen of Soul, a concert honoring the late singer. That’s where ET’s Nischelle Turner caught up with Dion, who discussed her relationship with Franklin and what she learned from her.

“I’ve had the privilege of singing at [VH1’s] Divas with her and when I had one moment, I had one line I was not gonna mess on that,” she explained of her performance with the legend in 1998. “I had a moment with her that I will never forget and I will cherish this for the rest of my life… I remember taking a picture with her after meeting with her, singing her [songs] of course, and when you love to sing so much, it’s gotta be done with the soul.”

The 50-year-old Canadian went on to explain that Franklin inspired her to find new depths with her singing, to reach further within herself.

“You sing with your heart but she has taught us that, when we believe so much, that it comes from deeper than the heart, it comes from the soul,” she said. “So we did not invent those words, she gave those words. She put those words into our repertoire, into our lives and dreams…our performances.”

“I feel extremely, extremely fortunate and honored that they called me to pay tribute to her because I think that we all took through the years a little part of her,” she added. “We did not sing her tonight, we lived her.”

In August, Franklin died at the age of 76 in her home in Detroit, Michigan, following a long battle with pancreatic cancer. 

Dion wasn’t the only GRAMMY winner who performed Franklin’s music on Saturday night. She was joined by John Legend, Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Clarkson, Alicia Keys, Common and many more.

Aretha! A GRAMMY Celebration for the Queen of Soul airs March 10 on CBS.

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