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BY Mildred Europa Taylor, 12:10pm June 26, 2023,

A look at Patti LaBelle’s multimillion-dollar business she created in case her music career failed

Patti LaBelle. Photo: wikimedia commons

Patti LaBelle has gone viral following the 2023 BET Awards where the crowd had to assist her through her Tina Turner tribute performance. LaBelle, 79, paid tribute to the late Turner with a rendition of her 1989 hit song “The Best” but LaBelle struggled with the lyrics as she had problems with the teleprompter.

“I can’t see the words and I don’t know,” she told the crowd during the performance. “I’m tryin’, y’all!” Still, the Godmother of Soul was able to jump back into the song with her powerful voice, and with the help of the crowd, she was able to complete her tribute to the Rock and Roll legend Turner, who died last month at age 83 after a long illness at her home near Zurich, Switzerland.

“It meant no matter what voice I’m in—I’m hoarse, I have a cold—but whatever, I had to, I was giving it up for Tina Turner, ’cause she’s simply the best. So, you heard a little tweak every now and then out there, but I love her, and I did my best,” LaBelle told Entertainment Tonight following the tribute.

LaBelle, born Patricia Louise Holte, started her music career in the early 1960s as the lead singer of the band Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles. The group later changed its name to Labelle and recorded the hit song “Lady Marmalade”. In 1976, LaBelle also became a solo artist and recorded her debut album which made waves. In 50 years, the music icon has sold over 50 million records and also became an actress.

But she is also a chef with a multimillion-dollar business she created in case her music career failed. “I love to sing but it’s always good to have a plan B just in case singing fails,” she told Tamron Hall. “My plan B was cooking. And I didn’t know it was going to get like this and I’m blessed and happy.”

LaBelle found a second career as a food mogul during the same time she was diagnosed as a diabetic, she told Vanity Fair. The Grammy-winning diva grew up learning how to cook from her mom in southwest Philadelphia. By age seven, she started trying to cook on her own. “I pretended to make ketchup in the garage — all I did was take canned tomatoes, added some store-bought ketchup, and told my parents I had made my own. But they played along,” the singer told departures.com. She also realized she had a powerful voice as she listened to her father sing.

Today, her second career as a food entrepreneur is doing incredibly well as she has not only cooked for celebs but also written cookbooks like “LaBelle Cuisine: Recipes to Sing About”, which features dishes such as Geechee Ya Gumbo and Say My Name Smothered Chicken. The vocal legend is also famous for Patti’s Good Life, a line of prepared foods and dessert pies that one can find at Target and Walmart. 

She also had a show on the Cooking Channel called Patti Labelle’s Place, which invited stars like Whoopi Goldberg and 50 Cent. And it all happened by accident.

“Every time that someone had Patti’s desserts, they’d say, ‘Girl, you should write a cookbook, or you should do a show, you should, you should, you should,’” LaBelle said to Vanity Fair. “So it was something that I think was meant to be. I didn’t force it.”

The legendary singer recalled that while she was with her girl group in the 1960s, she cooked for Elton John when he was still known as Reggie Dwight and was the pianist for her group’s backup band during their years touring in the United Kingdom. LaBelle also cooked for Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones as well as Prince. 

“He [Prince] took me to his house to cook for him, and he was shooting pool as I was cooking, and when everything was done, I said, ‘Dinner’s ready!’ He said, ‘Oh, I just want a roll,’’ LaBelle recounted stressing that Prince just wanted to see her cook.

All in all, one of the individuals who has been a blessing to her cooking business is YouTube personality  James Wright, who made a video about her sweet potato pie in 2015. The pie, from her mother and father’s old recipe, soon went viral and has since been one of the favorites among The Good Life line.

“If your plan 1 doesn’t work, your plan 2 might work. And I’m lucky…to have a second wonderful life as a cook,” the performer and cookbook author told Hall.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: June 26, 2023


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