ESSENCE Fest Dream Team: Kindred The Family Soul
Emil Lendof

To continue our series that gives artists the opportunity to pitch artists they would like to tribute at the 20-year anniversary of ESSENCE festival, we turn the mic to married soul singers Fatin Dantzler and Aja Graydon of Kindred The Family Soul. Although the two make beautiful music together, they chose to go different routes when tributing a legend.

Fatin Dantzler: I would probably have to say Frankie Beverly. He’s like our guy.

Aja Graydon: I have two. I adore Gladys Knight. I’m a huge fan, so I would love to see her tributed. To me she has not been tributed enough for who she is and what she’s done. I would also love to see Ashford & Simpson because as songwriters and artists, they have made so many contributions. With Nick having left us, I think it’s due.

Who would you want on stage with you to help you tribute Frankie Beverly?

Fatin Dantzler: You know I can do this whole thing all by myself.

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Aja Graydon: He’s like, ‘I know all the songs.’ [LAUGHS]

Fatin Dantzler: But Stokely would be great. Bilal would be good but everyone is not necessarily a Frankie Singer.

Aja Graydon: Just name all your friends and all your buddies.

Fatin Dantzler: Lalah Hathaway. Anthony David. Bilal. B.J. The Chicago Kid is a great singer. Eric Roberson is good.

Aja Graydon: [For the Gladys tribute] Jasmine Sullivan hands down. Jasmine Sullivan all day. Lalah Hathaway. Keke Wyatt just because I love her and I would listen to her sing the ABCs. I probably wouldn’t even have to sing. I would be like ‘Can you just do it so I can watch?’ I think Jasmine would be number one for me just because she has that tone. I would love to do it myself simply because I love Gladys so much and I know so much of her material. But I can sit back and watch them do it and be just as happy with it. Angie Stone too because she has that beautiful, raspy, tone thing poppin’.

Great tributes and artists indeed. Don’t forget, you can see Kindred The Family Soul live this Saturday in Chicago for ‘Road To ESSENCE Fest.’ A FREE fun day of live music, celebrity visits, great conversation, cool giveaways and much more.