Etta James died Friday at the age of 73, following a lengthy battle with leukemia. Joining fellow recording artists including Mariah Carey and Chaka Khan in remembering James, Christina Aguilera released a statement.
“Etta James was a force to be reckoned with. A true gift to music and a woman of great spirit and courage,” Aguilera wrote in a message posted on her website. “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. She will NEVER be forgotten, her voice will forever live on and she will inspire talent for generations to come.”
As noted early on in her career, Aguilera counted James as a major inspiration. She has not only covered notable songs by James, including “At Last” in Live! concerts but performed “Something’s Got A Hold On Me” in her big screen debut “Burlesque” (2010).
Earlier in the day, Beyonce paid tribute to the late legend as well, calling her death “a huge loss”.
“This is a huge loss. Etta James was one of the greatest vocalists of our time. I am so fortunate to have met such a queen,” said Beyonce. “Her musical contributions will last a lifetime. Playing Etta James taught me so much about myself, and singing her music inspired me to be a stronger artist. When she effortlessly opened her mouth, you could hear her pain and triumph. Her deeply emotional way of delivering a song told her story with no filter. She was fearless, and had guts. She will be missed.”
James leaves behind husband of 41 years, Artis Mills, and sons, Donto and Sametto James.