As fans across the world continue to mourn the loss of the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, Jimmy Fallon skipped his usual opening monologue on “The Tonight Show,” instead opening with guest Ariana Grande.
Billboard reported that Grande, whose album “Sweetner” was released Friday, opened Thursday night’s show with The Roots to do a cover of Franklin’s 1967 hit, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”
Grande reportedly broke down in tears backstage after the performance. She met Franklin in 2014, when the two were among the performers at former first lady Michelle Obama’s Women of Soul event at the White House.
After the tribute, Grande sat down with Fallon for an interview, which included talk of her new album and what it was like meeting Franklin.
“We sang at the White House and she was so sweet and she was like so cute and I was like, ‘How are you a real person?’” she said. “It's an honor to have met her and we are going to celebrate her.”
Grande also said she got a phone call from Franklin in which she was asked to listen to her grandson’s song.
“I was like, ‘Oh my God, I’d be honored to listen! Thank you for thinking of me. Just text me the MP3,’” she said.
Always old school, Franklin sent a package to Grande in the mail several months later.
Watch Grande’s Franklin tribute below.
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