Aretha Franklin was devastated when she heard about Whitney’s Houston death while watching TV in her hotel room in Charlotte, N.C.
“I just jumped up off the side of the bed. ‘What? This could not be, what is this?’ I just said, ‘Oh, my God’,” Aretha told “The Today Show.”
Aretha said she thought Whitney had conquered her challenges and was on her way to a comeback, which made her death even more shocking.
A longtime friend of the family, who’s been repeatedly mistaken for Whitney’s godmother, Aretha recalled the first time she heard Whitney’s voice, one many describe as “the best.”
“When she hit the soprano. I said, ‘Oh, this little girl can sing. Ok, Cissy’s baby can sing’,” said the Queen of Soul, referring to her friend Cissy Houston and reminiscing about that day back in the late 1970s.
Whitney sang “Saving All My Love” while in Aretha’s recording studio.
Aretha said no one could predict the success Whitney would have, not even Clive Davis.
“No one knew how big she would blow up,” said Aretha who is scheduled to sing at Whitney’s funeral at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey.
“It’s not going to be easy. I can tell you that, but Cissy asked me to and I’m just going to try to do my best,” she said.
Although she hasn’t decided what she’s going to sing yet, Aretha has written something for Whitney:
Twinkle twinkle superstar
We don’t wonder where you are
Up above the world so bright
Like a diamond in the night
Twinkle twinkle she stood alone
I can’t believe she’s gone.
“She didn’t just smile with the lips, she had this little twinkle in her eye,” Aretha remembered.