The Woman Patti LaBelle Calls Her "Savior"

Season 5 Episode 505
Aired on 11/22/2015 | CC tv-14
When music icon Patti LaBelle was a little girl growing up in Philadelphia, she says she was so shy, her mother used to bribe her with quarters to go outside and play with other children. But, in the privacy of her bedroom, Patti started singing, using a broomstick as a microphone. "I heard my father singing in the house all the time, and he sounded pretty good. Not a great singer, but he knew how to stay on key," she says. "I think that's where I got my talent from."

Patti's mother encouraged her to join the church choir, and that's how Patti met Harriet Chapman, a woman who would, ultimately, change her life. "The choir director asked me would I sing, because she did hear that Patti had a voice. I sang, and [she said] she didn't want me to sing in the chorus—she wanted me to sing lead," Patti says. "I would call her my savior."

Every Sunday, Patti says Ms. Chapman pushed her, and over time, her shyness fell away and her voice grew stronger. "That's when I realized I could sing," she says. "And after singing my first solo and got an 'hallelujah!' and standing ovation from the congregation, I said, 'Hey, that feels pretty good.'"

Watch as Patti shares the best advice Ms. Chapman ever gave her and reveals why she owes her career to this choir director.

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