Nicole Atkins sings ‘Natural Woman’ in tribute to Aretha Franklin (WATCH VIDEO)

Nicole Atkins sings Aretha

Nicole Atkins, at The Basement in Columbus, Ohio, Aug. 16.

Performing at The Basement in Columbus, Ohio, Aug. 16, New Jersey native Nicole Atkins opened her set with a powerful but only partial version of one of Aretha Franklin’s signature songs, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” She performed it as introduction to her own “Neptune City.”

Franklin had died earlier in the day, at 76, of pancreatic cancer.

You can watch a video, embedded via YouTube, below.

Atkins also posted the following message on Instagram, that day:

“I wish our heroes could live forever young and through their songs and recordings they will in a way. My heart hurts so much right now because her voice always made it feel like it would burst with love and happiness every time I heard it. I’m so grateful that God gave us all your talent. Your voice is absolute life and all the strength in the cosmos. Rest in peace sweet Aretha.”

Atkins will perform on the second day of the Sept. 29-30 Sea.Hear.Now Festival in Asbury Park, and will open for The Wood Brothers (featuring Chris Wood of Medeski, Martin & Wood) at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, Oct. 30, and the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown on Nov. 6.

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