Motown great Gladys Knight shows no signs of slowing down
At age 74, there’s no stopping seven-time Grammy Award-winner Gladys Knight.
The former Motown singer and leader of Gladys Knight and the Pips in the 1960s and ‘70s, Knight has forged a solo career that shows no signs of slowing down.
In the midst of a national tour that includes a performance at 7 p.m. Nov. 11 at Greensburg’s Palace Theatre, Knight took time out in October for some special celebrations.
She paid tribute to her friend since childhood, fellow soul singer Aretha Franklin, who passed away in August, as part of the American Music Awards show on Oct. 9.
“I am so very honored to have known her since we were both little girls,” Knight said. “The fact that her music has been so pure for all of these years – she touched everybody with her music simply because she chose it with her heart – she didn’t choose anything she didn’t believe.
“I’m the same way in the industry, so we had those things in common, as well,” she added. “She deserves this recognition, this tribute, all of these things for being around for this long.”
She also sang “You’ll Never Walk Alone” at Franklin’s funeral in Detroit.
Knight helped celebrate the impact of female artists in country music, performing with Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman on Oct. 17 in Nashville as part of the “2018 CMT Artists of the Year” television special.
She also performed a few weeks earlier in Beverly Hills, Calif., at the Carousel of Hope Ball, an annual fundraiser for the Children’s Diabetes Foundation and the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, which honored long-time supporter Robert De Niro. Knight is a national spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association.
Heading to the UK
Back on the road with U.S. concert dates through next May, Knight’s tour extends into summer 2019 with a trip to Great Britain and concerts in England, Scotland and Wales.
Her concert in Greensburg will include some of her biggest hits, including “I Heard it Through the Grapevine,” “I’ve Got to Use My Imagination” and Gladys Knight and The Pips’ number-one record, “Midnight Train to Georgia.”
She also typically features covers of some of her favorite songs, including “Stay With Me” (Sam Smith), “I Can’t Make You Love Me” (Bonnie Raitt), “Help Me Make It Through the Night” (Kris Kristofferson), “I Hope You Dance” (Lee Ann Womack) and “The Way We Were” (Barbra Streisand).
Return to gospel roots
The Georgia-born song stylist, who grew up singing in church choirs, returned to her gospel roots on her latest album, “Where My Heart Belongs,” which won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Gospel Album.
When she was preparing to star in Season 14 of ABC-TV’s “Dancing with the Stars,” she was asked how her voice still sounds good after so many years in the music business.
“To tell the honest truth, I can’t take credit for all of that,” she said. “I had some great mentors as I was coming up and starting to sing so early – I’ve been singing since I was four. I had people telling me how to preserve myself.”
Knight said she wants to keep performing because of her love for her fans.
“When you pay your money to see me, I want you to have the best concert you can have from me,” she said.
Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.