Patti LaBelle: A Story of Success

The golden voice and widely regarded Godmother of Soul, Patti LaBelle, has given numerous hits during her vastly successful career. The lead singer of the first African-American vocal group to appear in Rolling Stone’s cover, 71 years old Patti LaBelle has worked hard to climb her way up to the heights of success. Let’s have a look at her life and career:


Born on May 24th 1944 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Patti LaBelle was the third of the four girls of her parents. Her real name is Patricia Louise Holte and got her stage name later. She joined a local church choir at 10 and won her first talent competition at school. Later she formed her first band “Ordettes” with her schoolmates, which later became “Bluebells”. About her childhood she also confessed later that her parent’s marriage was abusive and she also got sexually molested at 7, by their family friend.

Career and Success:

With her band “Bluebells” Patti sung “I sold My Heart To The Junkman” for the local record label owner Harold Robinson. The “Bluebells” won many accolades for their songs like “Down The Aisle”, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and especially “Apollo Sweethearts”.   Later the group got dropped and re-managed by Vicki Wickham under the name “LaBelle” which gained rave success for a brief period.

She signed her solo contract with Epic Records and got huge success with her song “You Are My Friend”. She went on to give more single hits like “Little Girls”, “Come What May”, “I Don’t Go Shopping” etc. She later signed with Philadelphia International Records and gave another huge hit “Over The Rainbow”. She sung a duet with Grover Washington “The Best Is Yet To Come”, for which she earned her first Grammy Nomination. Her album “I’m in Love Again”, 1983, was considered as her career defining album. Its single “If Only You Knew” was her first single to be the number one as a solo artist. The whole 80s were her era of huge success with her singles like “New Attitude” and “Stir It Up” making new records.

She received her first Grammy Award for her 1991 hit “Burning”. Even 90s era was a testimony of her success with her hit albums “Gems”, “Live, One Night Only” and “Flame”. She won her second Grammy Award for “Live, One Night Only”.

Later in 2008, the member of earlier disbanded band “LaBelle” got together again and released their first complete album “Back To Now”, after which they did a successful reunion tour.

Career Other Than Singing:

LaBelle has also written many books which include her autobiography and two diabetic cook books along with launching her own line of sauces. She appeared in many movies like “A soldier’s story”, “Beverly Hills Cop” etc. She also appeared in TV shows like “A different World” and “American Horror Story”. She has also participated in Dancing with Stars

At 71, she has five children, one her own and others adopted. She had a successful marriage for 30 years before she separated with her husband Armsted Edwards. She now runs a line of Lipsticks and Nail Paints. Age doesn’t matter; she still has a golden voice. Once considered too dark and plain to be the group leader, LaBelle has touched the unparalleled heights of success making her life an inspiration for all.

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