The inspiration for Gold Coast producer Monique Cribb’s next project came to her in a dream; she knew she needed to honour the musical legacy of the late soul legend, Aretha Franklin. After months of writing the script and finding the right talent, her show R.E.S.P.E.C.T – Ultimate Tribute to Soul Legend Aretha Franklin debuts in Australia at Twin Towns on 14 June.

The show is more than showcasing Aretha’s greatest songs; it is about experiencing her journey through life from her siblings’ perspective. The dialogue delves into her relationship with her family, her lovers, the church and the music industry. Monique said not only was Aretha the undisputed queen of soul, she changed the landscape of R&B music. “With her incredible four octave vocal range, and what was described as a hurricane of a voice, she is one of the most successful divas that has ever lived,” she said. “She was so much more than a singer; she was a powerful figure for feminism and civil rights. I wanted to honour her legacy with the highest regard, so when I went looking for a singer who could connect with Aretha’s journey, and a voice to match, I couldn’t go past Australia’s finest soul singer, Angie Narayan.”

Angie’s extraordinary talent was showcased on the hit reality television show, Australian Idol. Dubbed Australia’s ‘Soul Mama’ by Ian Dickinson, she has continued to blow people away with her ground breaking voice. “Aretha was Angie’s greatest musical influence of her life. She ironically embodies so much of Aretha’s essence and heart, which is why I knew she was the perfect artist to play such a significant role” Monique said.

Since her debut album in 2006, she has supported industry legends Renee Geyer, John Paul Young and Human Nature, including touring with her band, Soul Engine. Helping tell Aretha’s incredible story, Angie is joined on stage with Sean Ikin, as her brother Cecil, Ellen Reed, from The Voice, as her sister Carolyn and Shelley Davies as her other sister Erma, together with four-piece band.

Monique said the show is a trip down memory lane for anyone who is an Aretha Franklin fan. “We start in the 1960s, where Aretha’s career began, taking you on an intimate musical odyssey through Aretha’s life of love, tragedy and triumph” she said. “The 1960s was all jazz and blues, the 1970s with disco, and 1980s with pop, with Aretha constantly reinventing herself, always keeping current, which is why she had career spanning over 50 years. You cannot put her in one category; she was not quite R&B, not quite pop, not quite gospel – she was unstoppable mix of all three. R.E.S.P.E.C.T was originally released by Otis Redding in 1957, but true to Aretha’s style, she upped the tempo and added the famous ‘sock it to me line’, making it anthem not just for black pride, but for every single human being regardless of race or gender. Her career sky-rocketed from here. She remained a prominent figure for women in the 1980s with ‘Sisters Are Doin It For Themselves’, a clear cut anthem for woman’s liberation at a time when women started competing for more male dominated jobs, such as construction workers, mechanics and CEOs. Aretha’s attitude was like ‘you go girl – just make sure you get the same pay as a man!’. She was such a bold, phenomenal woman.”

A mind, body and soul experience, R.E.S.P.E.C.T is a shining tribute to the queen of soul. Monique has immersed herself in Aretha’s life, making sure the show is something Aretha would be proud of.

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