Christina Aguilera has given a moving tribute to the late Etta James.
The 31-year-old half-Ecuadorian singer performed James’ classic song “At Last” at the R&B legend’s funeral in Gardena, California this weekend.
“It isn’t every day that an artist can meet the person who inspired them and their career,” Aguilera told People magazine. “Not only did I have the incredible opportunity of meeting my idol, the legendary Ms. Etta James, but to be asked by her family to perform at her memorial was so very touching and yet bitter sweet.”
Aguilera delivered a full-throated rendition of the song, with very minimal accompaniment. And her vocal stylings drew appreciative cheers and whistles from funeral goers.
“I can only hope that she felt the love in the room as we all came together to pay tribute to her and celebrate her life as a person and as an artist,” said Aguilera. “She will be deeply missed and I thank her family for allowing me such a great honor.”
James’ funeral, the City of Refuge Church, was a star-studded affair. Along with Aguilera’s inspired performance, the funeral included an appearance by Stevie Wonder.
“Thank you Etta James for the inspiration–I love you,” Aguilera said at the end of her performance.