Local artists discuss Aretha Franklin’s impact on their careers

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Less than 24 hours after her passing, local artists talk about the impact Aretha Franklin had on their careers.

“It really hurt me when I heard the news,” said contemporary gospel singer Lessette Kornegay. “I really cried because she’s always been my inspiration.”

Kornegay said she wanted to meet the Queen of Soul one day to tell her how much she’s influenced by her.

Kornegay also said she was so inspired and touched by the singer’s work, she wrote a song dedicated to her.

It’s a rendition of Franklin’s “I Say a Little Prayer.”

“She sings with her heart,” said Kornegay. “She always would sing a song with her heart. She would give it her all.”

Kornegay is one of several artists with their pictures displayed in store fronts along Queen Street in Kinston.

Other musicians being honored include Maceo and Melvin Parker.

Their brother shares how much the singer meant to his siblings.

“Aretha Franklin meant a great deal to my brothers because of her musical background and her musical history,” said Delond Parker.

Both Parker and Kornegay said they’re sad to lose Franklin, but glad she’s at peace.

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