Q & A WITH LETITIA GEORGE Respect to Aretha
1. How did you end up being part of the show?
I’ve talked about wanting to tribute to Aretha for a few years. I initially planned to do a solo show but decided I couldn’t possibly do something this special without my boys. We were approached by Sweeney Entertainments who asked us to work with them, and so it began.
2. When did you first get involved with the show?
The show has been completely built up from scratch. It’s new and fresh and we created it ourselves. We’re very proud. Respect to Aretha was born in October 2018.
3. Have you ever seen Aretha Franklin live and if so how does she compare to your concerts?
I have sadly only ever had the chance to see Aretha when she’s been on the tv, be that live or not. I’m scared of flying so I guess that’s something Aretha and myself have in common. But I would have loved to have met her!
4. Who do you perform as in the show?
I perform as myself. My tribute to Aretha is very much that. Nobody can do Aretha like she could. Some part of me thinks I’m crazy to try but I just want people to come to the show and feel like they leave with a little part of her. Although I perform each song as Aretha, I’m not trying to be Aretha Franklin. I just want to do her proud.
5. What preparation is involved in getting yourself ready to perform as each act in the show?
There’s so much involved in building a show like this. Firstly, I have had to train myself vocally. Aretha had a very big range, and although I do as well, I have had to work on extending the top end of my voice. I’m not just doing a tribute to any old star – this is the queen of soul and I want to get it right. It’s pressure but its going to be worth it.
In terms of putting on the show, I want it to be so aesthetically pleasing to people. I don’t want it to be the band and myself just singing through the songs. We want to put on a show and really give the audience something to shout about. Getting the audience involved is very important to me!
6. What is your favourite song that you perform?
Natural woman is my all-time favourite Aretha song. It just touches my soul.
7. Tell us a little more about the show members and how you got together.
We are a seven-piece band. I’ve been performing with the musicians for many years now and I couldn’t think of any other group of people I would rather do this with. They’re my musical family.
Andre – MD / Keys – Dre is a fantastic keys player and an all-round great guy. I call him my partner in rhyme – there isn’t many projects we don’t work on together. He’s my right-hand man and a good friend.
Wayne – Bass – Wayne’s talents are just incredible. This guy plays bass like he’s been playing it since he was born. Wayne is a seasoned musician and really knows how to bring the groove. A loved and long-standing friend of mine.
Ali – Guitar – Ali is a magician – This guy knows how to play! There’s no genre this man can’t get down to. He is a showman and we can expect great things during the tour from him. Ali is always top of my ‘go to’ list.
Boneto – Drums – This cheeky chap gives me life…always bringing laughter to the team. A gig without Bunny is just never the same. He is such a good guy and constantly brings a great vibe and balance to the team. Nothing is ever a problem for this dedicated drummer!
Jamila – Backing Vocals 1 – Without a shadow of a doubt, Jamila is the sweetest lady you will ever meet in your life time. She has smooth sultry tones to her voice and brings a great sound in harmonies. Singing with J is always a joy.
Geniveve – Backing Vocals 2 – This queen is just serious talent! My girl can singggg! Gen is such a blast to work with and I can’t wait to be on tour with her. Her voice just blends so sweetly with the rest of us gals. You’re really in for a treat.
8. What can the audience expect from attending one of your shows?
If you’re coming to the show expecting to see someone who looks, sounds and acts like Aretha Franklin, you’re not going find it. In fact, you won’t find that anywhere. But if you want to come to a show that celebrates the life of Aretha and helps you get a little taste of the love and passion she had for music, then look no further. We want to tell you a story, share with you as fans ourselves, and indulge in who is most simply, one of the greatest artists to ever walk this earth. If you’re looking for some real honest heart and soul performances to pay respect to a queen then Respect to Aretha is the show for you.
9. What do you enjoy most about the performances?
The music. That’s what we’re here for right?
The greatest thing about performing is singing a song and people singing it back to you. In the words of Dave Grohl “You can sing a song to 85,000 people and they’ll sing it back to you for 85,000 different reasons.” Now that is one of the best things about each and every performance.
10. What has been the highlight of your career so far?
There are so many highlights in my career that I couldn’t possibly name just one! But, every opportunity I am given is a blessing and it’s a gift that I can keep for life.
11. Why do you think now is the right time to be touring this show?
The thing is, with the passing of Aretha, when really is the time? But one thing I know, or at least hope, is that by going on tour next year we can bring comfort to each and every fan of Aretha Franklin and together we can show our love for a woman who made music that will forever live on. R.I.P QUEEN ARETHA FRANKLIN. ❤