Aretha Franklin’s ‘Natural Woman’ Performed by Jennifer Hudson and Stephen Colbert

Aretha Franklin was definitely the still undisputed Queen of Soul and her megahit “Natural Woman” was an anthem for a generation. Born in 1942 at her family’s tiny home in Memphis, Tennessee, Franklin got her start singing in her father’s church choir.

Aretha Franklin’s mother was an accomplished pianist and singer, and she taught Aretha her musical talents. Sadly, Aretha’s parents separated and her mother died before Aretha turned 10 years old. Aretha’s grandmother and family friend Mahalia Jackson helped raise the Franklin children.

Jennifer Hudson and Stephen Colbert and Jon Batiste singing Aretha Franklin's Natural Woman

Aretha learned to play piano by ear while attending public school. She dropped out of high school during her sophomore year.

Equally important, Aretha Franklin influenced some of the greatest artists who have ever lived, including Queen’s Freddie Mercury. Mercury repeatedly said that Aretha’s style was a huge influence in his own career.

The History of Aretha Franklin’s “Natural Woman”

Released in 1967 as a single by Aretha Franklin and Atlantic Records, “Natural Woman” was a song that was co-written by Gerry Goffin and the great Carole King. The song was written specifically for Aretha and it was a huge hit from the beginning.

Aretha Franklin Atlantic Records Natural Woman 45 version

“Natural Woman” reached number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and became one of Aretha Franklin’s signature songs.

Video of Jennifer Hudson Singing “Natural Woman” with Stephen Colbert and Jon Batiste.

In 2021, Jennifer Hudson played Aretha Franklin in the biopic “Respect,” which follows Aretha’s list from a child who sang in her father’s church choir to her international stardom as a singer, songwriter, pianist, and performer.

The movie has received rave reviews and stars not just Jennifer Hudson, but also Forest Whitaker and Marlon Wayans.

You can watch the movie on Amazon either via streaming, or you can buy the DVD.

Respect Movie Aretha Franklin starring Jennifer Hudson

Here’s the full video of the interview. Jennifer starts singing at about 3:21 minutes. To watch just the singing part, scroll down below this video and watch the clip from Twitter.

Here is the Twitter clip that shows just the music part of Jennifer Hudson singing Aretha Franklin’s “Natural Woman” with Jon Batiste and Stephen Colbert.

Wow. So much talent. Who knew Stephen could sing at all, much less sing Aretha Franklin and “Natural Woman”? Well done!

Jennifer Hudson Singing “Natural Woman” for Aretha Franklin Biopic “Respect”

Jennifer Hudson famously played Aretha Franklin in the biopic “Respect” about Franklin’s life. She does the song justice, for sure. In the movie, 17 of Aretha Franklin’s classics are performed and the soundtrack has them all.

You can buy a CD of the soundtrack on Amazon or listen to it via Amazon Music. What a great way to hear Jennifer Hudson singing all of Aretha’s biggest hit songs.

Soundtrack for Aretha Franklin Respect movie

To hear Jennifer Hudson sing Aretha Frankin’s “Natural Woman” by herself, listen below.

Love her so much!

Tiffany Willis Clark is a fifth-generation Texan and the founder and editor-in-chief of The Best Stuff Online,, and a few other websites. In 2011, she made the decision to pursue her dreams and become a full-time writer. Tiff is obsessed with finding the most interesting, coolest stuff online and sharing it with the world. Connect with her on LinkedIn, follow her on Twitter, and like her Facebook page.