Ariana Grande Pays Tribute to Aretha Franklin With Emotional Performance

Grande opened Thursday's episode of The Tonight Show by singing "Natural Woman"

By Cydney Contreras Aug 17, 2018 10:58 AMTags
Ariana Grande, The Tonight ShowAndrew Lipovsky/NBC

Ariana Grande is mourning the loss of a legend.

The singer opened Thursday's episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon by paying tribute to Aretha Franklin. Grande sang a rendition of Franklin's hit "Natural Woman." The performance was certainly a moving one and earned her roaring applause from the audience.

Later in the show, Grande recalled meeting the Queen of Soul during a performance at the White House. The "No Tears Left to Cry" star described the late artist as "so sweet."

"It's an honor to have met her and we're going to celebrate her," she said.

Grande said Franklin even called her once asking if she'd listen to a family member's music.

Grande's emotional tribute to the 18-time Grammy winner follows the news of Franklin's passing on Thursday. Franklin's publicist told E! News she died "surrounded by family and loved ones."

"In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds," part of the statement read. 

Aretha Franklin: A Life in Pictures

Since then, there has been an outpouring of adoration for the late legend. Celebrities like John Legend, Barbra Streisand and Elton John took to social media to speak their praises of the Queen of Soul.

Former president Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama expressed their condolences in a statement, saying, "Aretha may have passed on to a better place, but the gift of her music remains to inspire us all. May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace. Michelle and I send our prayers and warmest sympathies to her family and all those moved by her song." 

(E! and NBC are both members of the NBCUniversal family.)