On Friday, Hill hit the stage to perform “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” to pay tribute to the Queen of Soul at the Greater Grace Temple in the late star’s native Detroit. Franklin died on Aug. 16 after battling pancreatic cancer. She was 76.
Backed by a gospel choir, delivered a powerful rendition of the traditional hymnal before a crowd of dignitaries that included Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, and former President and Secretary of State Bill and Hillary Clinton. The song was featured on Franklin’s 1972 live album Amazing Grace.
On Aug. 16, the country superstar, 50, took to Instagram to remember Franklin, writing “GLORY, GLORY, GLORY to the ALMIGHTY!!! The choir of angels now have the greatest voice of all time to lead, praise and join in to sing before Jesus. I wanted to share this photo because it shows just how soulful Aretha was without uttering a word. To say I was humbled to be in her presence would be an understatement.”
During a 1996 interview with the Washington Post, Hill credited Franklin as a “big influence” behind her successful career.
“For me, the big influence wasn’t Linda Ronstadt; it was Aretha Franklin,” said Hill. “I’ve always listened to Aretha. When you hear the drums and bass on my records, that’s where it comes from.”