Soul Music Pervades the White House
Barrington M. Salmon | 3/12/2014, 3 p.m.
Monáe, 28, grew up in Kansas City, Kan., from humble beginnings. Obama said Monáe's mother worked as a janitor, her stepfather worked for the post office, and her father was a garbage collector.
"I did living room training … on the couch," she said. "My sister was always annoyed by my singing. But I always loved communicating through song. For example, someone once said I gave them goosebumps and I wanted to keep doing that. Music is in my DNA. It's who I am."
LaBelle said she truly enjoys doing what she loves.
"I'm 69 so I'm like the Original Gangsta," the Grammy-winning singer and author joked. "Way back in the day, I was so shy. I used to sing with a broom. My mother said ‘Baby, you need to sing in the church. And I did…'"
"It didn't cost me anything to sing."
As a child, the 52-year-old Etheridge said, she listened to an AM station which played Tammy Wynette, Marvin Gaye and Aretha Franklin.
"I didn't say I can't do it because I'm white," Etheridge said. "I'm a human being and wanted to express this, as the first lady said. It goes past skin, age, everything … it's what keeps you going, gets you up in the morning. You gotta dream."