With Friday’s release of the film Respect, Jennifer Hudson visited the Late Show Thursday to perform an impromptu rendition of the Aretha Franklin classic “(You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman” alongside Stephen Colbert and Jon Batiste.
As Hudson told Colbert during the interview, she learned to play piano while filming her role as the Queen of Soul. “I always had the passion for singing, not playing [piano], but now since playing her, it’s given me a new passion to wanna play more,” Hudson said.
The singer then talked about meeting Franklin for the first time — soon after she was eliminated from American Idol, “in 7th place, and proud of it,” Hudson quipped — as well as opening for the soul legend. “I got to see her sing, and I got to open up the show, and that was my first time meeting her… and bring her flowers, of course,” Hudson said.
Hudson then took a seat by Batiste’s piano to show the different approaches to singing that she and Franklin had — Franklin sings “from the top of her head,” a vocal coach told Hudson, who “sang from her feet” — with the lesson becoming a “(You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman” performance with Batiste and Colbert on backing vocals.
Later on in the show, Hudson delivered “Respect” with her own band:
The Franklin biopic Respect and its soundtrack are out Friday, August 13th.