It is a risky move for an artist to reinterpret a classic song from a legendary singer, but Christina Aguileras gospel rendition of Etta Jamess At Last moved those in attendance at Jamess funeral services Saturday at the Greater Bethany Community Church City of Refuge in Gardena, California.
Aguilera dropped her already deep register a few octaves to belt the songs opening, At last, prompting shouting and whistling from the congregation. Before Aguilera began singing, she described James as the one that cut right to my soul.
After the opening, Aguileras vocals complimented the church organ and piano arrangement. The popular wedding song took on a new direction. The lines My lonely days are over, The skies above are blue, and And here we are in heaven now felt more spiritual than romantic.
The approving onlookers offered a standing ovation.
Christina Aguilera performed a powerful rendition of At Last at Etta Jamess funeral. Aguilera cited the singer as a major inspiration for her career, saying that she sings the song at every show when she tours.
Christina Aguilera is known for her powerhouse pipes, but even she topped herself at music icon Etta James funeral. The 31-year-old singer displayed raw emotion as she performed at the blues legends memorial service today at the City of Refuge Church in Gardena, just outside of Los Angeles.
The Voice judge looked sensational as she belted out James hit song, At Last, wearing an all black ensemble.
Etta James, who died on Friday, was a huge influence on Christina Aguilera. Shes performed James classic At Last throughout her career, and also sang James Somethings Got a Hold On Me in her movie Burlesque. So its no surprise shes paid tribute to James with a posting on her official website.
Etta James was a force to be reckoned with. A true gift to music and a woman of great spirit and courage, Christina writes. Her raw tone and the passion she put forth on a record spoke to me at a very young age and has continued to influence and inspire me throughout my career. Christina finished by saying of James, She will NEVER be forgotten, her voice will forever live on and she will inspire talent for generations to come.
A tearful and emotional Aguilera sang James At Last (watch the performance below) while Wonder performed Shelter in the Rain and The Lords Prayer.
Among the stars performing tributes to James were Stevie Wonder and Christina Aguilera, who told the gathering that she has included At Last in every concert shes performed as a tribute to her musical inspiration. The assembly roared to their feet, and would again stand to applaud performances by Wonder and Aguilera, who filled the sanctuary with their voices. Out of all the singers that Ive ever heard, she was the one that cut right to my soul and spoke to me, Aguilera said before her performance.