Patti LaBelle

Patti LaBelle is a name that resonates with music lovers around the world. Her powerful voice, captivating stage presence, and timeless hits have made her a legend in the music industry. While many are familiar with her incredible talent, there is much more to the story of this iconic artist.

In this article, we will take a journey through the life of Patti LaBelle, from her early days to her rise to fame, the controversies she encountered, her best songs, where she is now, and other important aspects of her remarkable career.

Early Days

Born Patricia Louise Holt on May 24, 1944, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Patti LaBelle discovered her passion for singing at an early age. She grew up in a musical family and was influenced by her father, a jazz musician. As a teenager, she formed a singing group known as the Ordettes with her friend Cindy Birdsong, who would later become a member of The Supremes. The group eventually transformed into Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles, which included Nona Hendryx, Sarah Dash, and Cindy Birdsong.

The group gained recognition in the 1960s, and they achieved moderate success with hits like “I Sold My Heart to the Junkman” and “Down the Aisle (The Wedding Song).” However, their big breakthrough was yet to come.

Rise to Fame

In the early 1970s, Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles went through a transformation, both musically and stylistically. They changed their name to simply “Labelle” and adopted a more eclectic and innovative approach to their music. They embraced funk and rock influences, and their fashion choices became more avant-garde. It was during this time that they released their iconic album “Nightbirds” in 1974.

“Nightbirds” featured the smash hit “Lady Marmalade,” which catapulted Labelle to international stardom. The song’s catchy chorus and Patti LaBelle’s electrifying vocals made it an anthem of the disco era. It reached the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and earned the group their first Grammy Award nomination.

Labelle’s unique blend of rock, funk, and soul set them apart from other groups of the era. Their fearless experimentation with music and fashion-challenged traditional norms and made them pioneers in the music industry. Patti LaBelle’s voice, in particular, stood out for its unmatched power and emotion.


Patti LaBelle’s career was not without its fair share of controversies. In the late 1970s, Labelle disbanded, and Patti embarked on her solo career. Her transition to a solo artist was met with both critical acclaim and challenges.

One notable controversy surrounded Patti LaBelle’s supposed feud with fellow R&B diva Aretha Franklin. The media often portrayed them as rivals, but in reality, the two singers had a deep mutual respect for each other. Patti LaBelle addressed these rumors, saying, “We’re very different. We have different styles. I sing the truth, and she sings from her soul. I’m a better judge of talent than she is.”

Despite the occasional controversies and rivalries, Patti LaBelle’s undeniable talent continued to shine through, and her solo career flourished with chart-topping albums and hit singles.

Best Songs

Patti LaBelle’s discography is filled with incredible songs that have left an indelible mark on the music industry. While it’s challenging to narrow down her best songs, here are some of the most memorable tracks from her illustrious career:

  1. “Lady Marmalade” – Undoubtedly her most iconic song, this disco hit remains a classic to this day.
  2. “On My Own” – A duet with Michael McDonald, this song reached the top of the charts and earned Patti LaBelle a Grammy Award.
  3. “New Attitude” – This energetic and empowering song became an anthem for self-confidence and personal growth.
  4. “If Only You Knew” – Patti’s soulful delivery in this ballad tugs at the heartstrings of listeners.
  5. “You Are My Friend” – This heartfelt and emotional ballad has been a fan favorite for decades.
  6. “Somebody Loves You Baby (You Know Who It Is)” – An upbeat and catchy track showcasing Patti’s vocal prowess.

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These songs represent just a fraction of Patti LaBelle’s extensive catalog, but they serve as a testament to her versatility and enduring appeal.

Struggles and Triumphs:

Patti LaBelle’s journey to stardom was not without its share of struggles. One significant challenge she faced early in her career was racial discrimination. As an African-American artist in the 1960s and 1970s, she encountered racism and segregation. Despite these obstacles, she persevered and used her music as a platform to challenge social norms and promote equality. Her success in breaking racial barriers in the music industry is an important aspect of her life and career.


Beyond her music career, Patti LaBelle is an accomplished entrepreneur. She ventured into the culinary world with her line of food products, including her famous sweet potato pies. Her foray into the food industry was met with great success, and her products became sought-after items in supermarkets. This entrepreneurial spirit is a testament to her versatility and business acumen.

Acting and Theater:

Patti LaBelle’s talents extend beyond singing. She has made significant forays into acting and theater. Her notable roles include appearances in films like “A Soldier’s Story” and “Beverly Hills Cop.” She has also been involved in stage productions, including her portrayal of “Matron ‘Mama’ Morton” in the Broadway musical “Chicago.” These endeavors showcase her versatility as a performer.

Philanthropy and Advocacy:

Patti LaBelle has been actively involved in philanthropic efforts and advocacy work. She is known for her support of various charitable causes, including those related to diabetes awareness and education, a cause close to her heart due to her personal experience with diabetes. Her commitment to giving back to the community is a crucial aspect of her life and legacy.

Family and Personal Life:

While Patti LaBelle is an iconic figure in the entertainment industry, she values her personal life and family. She has been open about her experiences with motherhood, discussing the challenges and joys of being a parent and a grandmother. Her ability to balance a successful career with family life is a testament to her strength and resilience.

Awards and Honors:

Throughout her career, Patti LaBelle has received numerous awards and honors for her contributions to music and entertainment. These accolades include Grammy Awards, BET Awards, and inductions into the Grammy Hall of Fame and the Apollo Theater Hall of Fame. Her recognition in the form of awards and honors is a reflection of her immense talent and influence.

Where is she now?

Patti LaBelle remains an active and influential figure in the entertainment industry. She continued to perform live concerts, release new music, and make television appearances. Additionally, Patti LaBelle was involved in various philanthropic efforts and business ventures, including a successful line of food products.

Please note that her status and activities may have evolved since then. To find the most current information on Patti LaBelle’s career and activities, I recommend checking the latest news sources and her official website or social media profiles.


Patti LaBelle’s journey from her early days as a member of the Bluebelles to her rise to fame as a solo artist is a testament to her extraordinary talent, resilience, and determination. She has not only left an indelible mark on the music industry but also blazed a trail for future generations of artists. Her contributions to music, her powerful voice, and her ability to connect with audiences on a deep emotional level have solidified her status as a legend.

Despite the controversies and challenges she faced along the way, Patti LaBelle’s passion for music and her unwavering commitment to her craft have allowed her to maintain a lasting and influential presence in the world of entertainment. Her timeless songs continue to inspire and captivate audiences, and her legacy as a music icon remains secure.

Patti LaBelle’s story is a testament to the enduring power of music and the ability of artists to transcend boundaries and touch the hearts of millions. As long as there are music lovers in the world, the name Patti LaBelle will continue to resonate, and her songs will continue to move and uplift those who listen.