Patti LaBelle is bringing two fur coats to Minneapolis this weekend. She’s no fool.
She’s also bringing her array of wigs, high heels and glamorous dresses. After all, she’s got to be Miss Patti Patti.
She’s not bringing any of her sweet-potato pies, though. You’ll have to go to Wal-Mart for those yummy treats.
When she hits the stage Saturday at the State Theatre, the soul diva will have one attitude and it’s not a new one: Please the people.
“That’s all I ever want to do, to please an audience,” she said Tuesday. “I want to bring them happy smiles.”
When she’s cooking (whether at home or on her show on the Cooking Channel), she has one mission: Please the people who are going to eat her food.
“If I cook for you and I don’t see you smile or ask for seconds, I’m going to have to slap you,” she said matter of factly.
But know she doesn’t sing while she cooks.
“Heck no,” she said. “I don’t sing in the shower. I never sing unless I’m onstage.”
After broadcasting six episodes of “Patti LaBelle’s Place” last fall, she’s waiting for the greenlight to shoot more episodes for the Cooking Channel.
Diversifying has always come natural for her. “It was nothing planned,” the veteran singer said. “Everything fell into my lap. They were things I could handle.”
After scoring such solo hits as “New Attitude” and “If Only You Knew,” she hosted her own variety TV show in 1985 and appeared in various movies and TV series, most notably “American Horror Story: Freak Show” in 2014. She’s written cook books, an autobiography and a memoir, and markets her desserts at Wal-Mart. And she’s appeared on Broadway, with her role in “Fela!” presenting a major challenge in 2010.
“It was like ‘you better remember your lines.’ Everyone in the play depends on Patti doing her lines properly,” she recalled. “It was hard. But it was fun. Because I had to do choreography also.”
An even bigger challenge was TV’s “Dancing With the Stars,” on which she competed in 2015.
“I was born ready for ‘Dancing With the Stars’ although I can’t dance,” she admitted. “But they wanted me on there as long as I did, so I stayed. That’s not my forte, dancing. Freestyle dancing onstage, I can do that. But I’m not a dancer.”
What was the degree of difficulty for her on that show?
Eight, she said, on a 10-point scale.
Loud voice, soft talker
LaBelle, 72, talks softly, a striking contrast to her roof-raising mezzo-soprano onstage and over-the-top personality.
In a call from her Philadelphia home, she became more animated when recalling her 1988 recording session with Prince at Paisley Park. Drummer Sheila E, whom LaBelle knew, set it up.
“He treated me like a queen,” she remembered. “He took me to a disco. We had dinner at his house. He drove me in the ‘alphabet’ car. We played pool. I cooked for him and he didn’t eat. ’Cause he only wanted bread. But he just wanted to see me cook. It was a very wonderful, way-out experience I had with Prince. The most musical person I’ve ever met.”
The resulting song, “Yo Mister,” made it to No. 6 on Billboard’s R&B chart in 1989.
The number is not likely to turn up in her set on Saturday — unless maybe fans request it. One selection that will show up for sure is “Over the Rainbow,” which LaBelle recorded with Patti LaBelle and the Blue Belles in 1966. In 1981, she cut a solo version of the Judy Garland classic from “Wizard of Oz.”
Even though she’s known for going over the top on some tunes, LaBelle can show restraint on this overly familiar power ballad.
“I sometimes think I do go over, over, over the rainbow,” LaBelle said. “I do it every night and every night it’s going to be a little different.”
LaBelle just finished recording a new album — a jazz record. She doesn’t have a title yet for the disc but included are songs associated with Nina Simone, Frank Sinatra and James Moody, among others. She won’t be previewing any of the material in concert.
But she did tease about one thing: a possible LaBelle reunion.
That would be the trio of LaBelle, Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash, who collaborated on the disco classic “Lady Marmalade” in 1974. After disbanding in ’76 for solo careers, the singers reunited for a 2008 album, “Back to Now,” followed by a tour.
“The three of us talked recently,” LaBelle said. “We’re still planning on doing stuff together. Be it music or a tour. But we will get together before we all leave this planet. It’s in the early stage. Chitchat time.”
How do they get along?
“We love each other. Of course, we fought back in the day. Still will fight if we have to. But it’s nothing but sisters.”