Patti LaBelle’s guest appearance on the season one finale of “Empire” wasn't a one-time hit. Fans will be happy to know that the music icon is returning to the show and will be featured in its upcoming season!
During a recent interview with The Huffington Post, LaBelle recalled a conversation she had with co-creator, Lee Daniels, who wants the legendary singer to try something “daring” on camera for her season two appearance.
“We talked about it about three months ago. He said ‘LaLa,’ -- he calls me ‘LaLa’ -- ‘would you take your wig off?’ I said, ‘Hell no,’" LaBelle explained, laughing. “So he’s trying to do something daring with me, but I ain’t going out like that. I love you Lee, but no, no. Viola Davis did it well on ‘How To Get Away With Murder,’ but not Ms. Patti. I can’t do it.”
Davis’ powerful wig removal scene was welcomed with praise, making it one of the most memorable -- and celebrated -- moments in recent primetime television.
As LaBelle awaits the filming of her second appearance on "Empire," she is also prepping the release of her debut Jazz album. According to LaBelle, the 13-track opus, which is currently untitled, is tentatively set for a late 2015 release and will feature rendition songs by Nina Simone (“Wild Is the Wind”), Frank Sinatra (“Softly As I Leave You”), and Gloria Lynne (“The Folks That Live On The Hill”) among others.
Incorporating classic music into her new recordings is something that LaBelle loves to do, and is thrilled that newer singers do the same.
“I’m very happy to hear some of the young singer’s going back to old school, like Tyrese, Jill [Scott], and Johnny Gill,” she said. “They’re singing songs like they used to be sung -- with basic R&B chord changes and basic stories.”
In recent years, veteran artists including Eddie Levert have expressed their thoughts on R&B singers "taking the romance out" out of the genre and leaving "nothing to the imagination." However, LaBelle has seen improvement -- she even performs modern ballads at her shows.
“They’re not disgusting, they’re not vulgar. I include some these songs in my shows now -- I do ‘Shame’ by Tyrese and Johnny Gill’s ‘Game Changer’ and Charlie Wilson’s ‘Goodnight Kisses.’ I also love Jill Scott’s new project, so there’s hope.”
Here's to R&B's refined "New Attitude!"
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