Ariana Grande’s appearance on The Tonight Show happened to coincide with the day that Aretha Franklin passed. She planned to be on the show to discuss the release of her new album, Sweetener, and to tape a comical skit with Kimmel. However, she ended up performing “Natural Woman” along with The Roots after the producers asked her to do so. Ariana reportedly didn’t want to at first, but ended up doing it anyway. The young singer’s rendition of an old classic earned her a standing ovation, as fans and Ariana alike choked back tears.
After the song was over, Ariana is believed to have broken down in tears backstage, which is no wonder. The emotionally-charged tribute was done on the same day that she heard the news of Aretha’s passing. For not having planned the performance earlier, Ariana did an amazing job. Fans loved Grande’s rendition of the soul classic, while others commented on the beauty of a contemporary singer taking on one of Aretha’s songs.
Early on Thursday, the world learned that the Queen of Soul had passed away after battling pancreatic cancer. Ariana posted a tribute on Instagram of an older black-and-white photo of herself with Aretha. She captioned the photo with a bunch of hearts with one cloud emoji in the middle.
Ariana’s take on “Natural Woman” stayed very true to the original song. She began the song singing over just a piano, but as the song progressed the rest of the band joined in.
The young pop star wore a glittery long-sleeved suit top and matching bottom. Some long boots, sparkly earrings and her signature ponytail completed her look.
After she sat down with Fallon, she described how she sang with Aretha at the White House and she was “so sweet and so cute” mentioning what an honor it was for her to meet her. She also recounted the one time that Aretha called her to ask if she’d listen to one of her young relative’s songs. However, Aretha said she didn’t know how to text an mp3, so months later, Ariana got a package in the mail with a CD.
In other news, Ariana’s Sweetener album dropped, driving her fans wild with excitement. People are talking a lot about the track “Soulmate” written about her fiance, Pete Davidson, during which she says that, “I know you know that you my soulmate. I just wanna be happy,” detailed People.