Mariah Carey remembered her VH1 Divas partner Aretha Franklin as “my inspiration, my mentor and my friend” in a poignant tribute to the Queen of Soul, who died Thursday of pancreatic cancer at age 76.
In a series of tweets, Carey called Franklin “the ultimate singers’ singer” and “the greatest singer and musician of my lifetime.” She continued, “The power of your voice in music and in civil rights blew open the door for me and so many others. You were my inspiration, my mentor and my friend.”
Carey touched on the revolutionary way Franklin incorporated the church and gospel music into her pop and R&B songs, adding, “You showed me I could sing the songs I wanted to sing and bring God with me. You’ve inspired millions everywhere yet never left home, never left church. Today the entire world mourns your home-going and celebrates all the brilliance you left behind.”
The pop star concluded, “I will forever cherish the moments I spent in your presence. Your indelible impact was earned not only by your incomparable voice but by your bigger than life personality, wit and humor. I say a big prayer for you. You will forever have all our respect.”
Carey’s tweets featured several pictures of herself and Franklin together, including still photos from their performance of “(You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman” at VH1’s Divas special in 1998 (they also shared the stage with Celine Dion, Gloria Estefan, Shania Twain and the song’s co-writer, Carole King). During that same show, Carey and Franklin also performed the latter’s 1967 classic, “Chain of Fools.”