R&B icon Gladys Knight is billed to receive the 16th annual ELLA Award from the Society of Singers. The honor, named after its first recipient, jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald, recognizes entertainers for their musical successes and dedication to charitable and humanitarian causes. “It is a truly awesome feeling to be receiving this honor. Ella was the sweetest and most beautiful person as a talent and as a human being,” Knight said Tuesday. Knight will receive the award Sept. 10. Past winners include Elton John, Frank Sinatra and Celine Dion. “Gladys Knight has one of the greatest and most distinctive voices of our time,” said Jerry F. Sharell, the Society of Singers’ president and chief executive officer. (The Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization offers services to meet the emergency financial needs of professional singers worldwide.) Gladys Maria Knight, 62, has won seven Grammys in her career, with hits including “Midnight Train to Georgia” and “Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye).” She is best known for the hits she recorded during the 1960s and 1970s, for both the Motown and Buddah Records labels, with her group Gladys Knight & the Pips, the most famous incarnation of which also included her brother Merald “Bubba” Knight and her cousins Edward Patten and William Guest.
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