Patti LaBelle, godmother of soul, still striving to ‘climb higher’ even after decades in the spotlight


Julia Weber
Staff writer

Even with several lifetime achievement awards, Grammy Awards, acting credits and hit songs to her name, Patti LaBelle considers herself to still be on the journey to stardom.

“As far as me being that real super, super, super superstar woman, I’m not there yet,” she said in a 2022 interview with CBS News.

LaBelle will take the stage at 8:15 p.m. tonight in the Amphitheater to help round out this season’s popular entertainment programming.

Though LaBelle may not consider herself to be at that “super” level, many others do. Her wide-spanning career and many accomplishments tell the story of a talented musician who has earned the affectionate title of “godmother of soul.”

Tonight, LaBelle will perform an array of her widely recognized songs.
She is best known for songs like “If Only You Knew,” “Love, Need and Want You,” “You Are My Friend” and “New Attitude.”

LaBelle originally paved her way in the music industry as the lead vocalist of the R&B group Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles in the early 1960s. The group later rebranded as Labelle with a more disco-funk influenced sound, showcased in 1974’s No. 1 hit, “Lady Marmalade.”

After the group split in 1977, she launched a successful and long-standing solo career, including 1986’s Winner In You featuring the No. 1 hit, “On My Own,” and her latest record, 2017’s Bel Hommage, a vocal jazz album.

The Grammy Award-winner has received countless accolades throughout her career. While best known for her accomplishments in music, LaBelle also boasts an impressive acting resume. She has acted in films and television series including “Greenleaf,” “Empire” and “American Horror Story.”

LaBelle’s accomplishments are lengthy, and, six decades into her career at age 79, she shows no signs of wanting to slow down.

“A lot of people, when they meet me, they say ‘Are you still working? Are you still touring?’ I said, ‘Google me, boo,’ ” Labelle said in the interview with CBS News. “I’m always on the run. I’m booked, and busy and blessed.”

Chautauquans can expect to enjoy a selection of LaBelle’s hits spanning her career, her impressive vocal range, and an arrangement of her well-known hits from throughout her long-lasting career.

“I’m ecstatic,” LaBelle said in the CBS News interview. “I love the Patti LaBelle that’s here now, and she’s going to climb higher.”


The author Julia Weber

Julia Weber is a rising junior in Ohio University’s Honors Tutorial College where she is majoring in journalism and minoring in art history. Originally from Athens, Ohio, this is her first summer in Chautauqua and she is thrilled to cover the theater and dance performances. She serves as the features editor for Ohio University’s All-Campus Radio Network, a student-run radio station and media hub, and she is a former intern for Pittsburgh Magazine. Outside of her professional life, Julia has a newly adopted cat, Griffin, and she is an avid fan of live music and a dedicated ceramicist.