Patricia Louise Holte, better known as Patti LaBelle from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was born on May 24, 1944. In the early 1960s, LaBelle began her career as the lead vocalist of the band Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles. A decade later, the group renamed itself Labelle and released the smash song ‘Lady Marmalade.’ LaBelle debuted as a solo artist in 1976, and her solo album was just another commercial hit. Over five decades, she sold over 50 million recordings and even became an actor. So let’s celebrate the joyous day of the award-winning singer, actress, and author.
Patricia Louise Holte
Patsy, Patti, ‘Godmother of Soul’
May 24, 1944
Patricia Louise Holte, best known as Patti LaBelle, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Henry Holte who was a railroad worker & lounge singer, and Bertha Holte, a homemaker. She is the third of the couple’s four daughters. After her parents’ divorce, she was raised alone by her mother. She was cautious and demure as a youngster, although she was best friends with Claudette Grant — whom her mother had fostered. She was a member of the church choral group and had a deep voice. She sang her debut single at the Beulah Baptist Church when she was 12 years old. She loved listening to jazz, R&B music, and other genres in addition to gospel music.
Patsy was her nickname as she approached adolescence. In 1958, she accomplished her aim of founding a girl group by forming The Ordettes with three companions. The organization —which began informally — was reduced to two members after two of them freely quit. The circumstances quickly altered when vocalists Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash joined The Ordettes. Cindy Birdsong started The Ordettes in 1961. Bernard Montague — the well-known music promoter — became their manager. The group’s career graph appeared to be on the rise as it garnered a lot of popularity and notoriety in and around Philadelphia. The Ordettes were presented to Harold Robinson — President of Newtown Records, however, Robinson first turned down the band because of their unassuming appearances and plain Jane style, but after hearing LaBelle’s singing, he agreed to sign them. He then changed the name of the band to The Blue Belles.
The Blue Belles’ debut single, ‘I Sold My Heart to the Junkman,’ became a massive hit. Despite reaching the Billboard top 20, the song’s credit sparked a controversy. Due to legal concerns, Robinson altered the group’s name to Patti LaBelle and The Blue Belles. Robinson gave Holte the name ‘LaBelle,’ which meant ‘the beautiful’ in French. The band left Newtown Records the following year to join Cameo-Parkway Records. ‘Down the Aisle’— the group’s debut single for Cameo-Parkway Records — went on to become a worldwide success. The song made the top 40 charts. It was followed by two additional chart-topping singles — ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ and ‘Danny Boy.’ When the band returned to the United States, they changed their band name to Labelle and landed a record deal with Track Records.
After the group split in 1976, LaBelle began a successful solo career, starting with her critically acclaimed debut album, which included the career-defining song, ‘You Are My Friend.’ LaBelle became a mainstream solo star in 1984 following the success of the singles, ‘If Only You Knew,’ ‘New Attitude’ and ‘Stir It Up,’ with the latter two crossing over to pop audiences and becoming radio staples. Her 1991 record, “Burnin,” earned her, her first Grammy award. It had 10 hits, sold 500,000 copies, and became her third gold album. She followed up her Grammy win in 1998 with the release of the live C.D. —”One Night Only!” She has, however, been in various sitcoms and performed in several programs, in addition to producing music C.Ds. With the award-winning musical “Fela!” she successfully returned to Broadway. She also played at the 9/11 memorial for President Barack Obama. Talking about her personal life, Armstead Edwards married her in 1969. They raised a girl and adopted two boys. The pair eventually separated in 2003.
Throughout her seven-decade career, she has sold over 50 million recordings worldwide. LaBelle has been inducted into three halls of fame — the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and the Apollo Theater Hall of Fame. “Rolling Stone” featured LaBelle on their list of the ‘100 Greatest Singers.’ LaBelle is a dramatic soprano known for her vocal strength, range, and emotional delivery.
The Ordettes are introduced to Harold Robinson who later changes their name to The Blue Belles.
Due to legal concerns, Robinson alters the group's name to Patti LaBelle and The Blue Belles.
The group's debut song for Cameo-Parkway Records— ‘Down the Aisle’ — goes on to become a great success, and the band sings with Atlantic Records, where they create their debut album, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."
They sign with Epic Records and release their most lauded album, "Nightbirds," the same year, which becomes a massive smash.
Due to personal difficulties, LaBelle advises that the group separate.
She goes out on her own and releases her self-titled album —"LaBelle" — on Epic Records.
Her follow-up album, "Winner in You," is published, the album is a major success, debuting at number one on the “Billboard 200,” and its first single, ‘On My Own,’ tops the charts.
Her first Grammy Award is given to her for a successful album "Burnin."
Why We Love Patti LaBelle
She’s an introvert
Yes, you heard that right, LaBelle is an introvert by personality, but she has a great voice that makes us forget she's an introvert! We love everything about this songstress!
She’s a timeless artist
She is one of those artists who is liked by people of all ages, not only the oldies but also Gen Z. She won people's hearts with her voice!
She doesn’t know how to drive
And why do we love that? She didn’t learn to drive because she was busy making hits that won our hearts.
5 Surprising Facts
Grammy award winner, but twice
In 1991 and 1998, she received Grammy Awards for ‘Traditional R&B Vocal Performance’ and ‘Best Female R&B Vocal Performance,’ respectively.
Fame like no other
She has been honored with inductions to the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Legends Walk of Fame, and the B.E.T. Walk of Fame.
Award-winner in many categories
She has won multiple honors in a variety of categories, including a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award,’ ‘Best Soul/R&B Artist,’ and ‘Gospel Artist.’
Her acting abilities
She was even nominated for an award for her acting abilities.
This well-known African-American singer & artist is renowned as the ‘Godmother of Soul.’
Patti LaBelle FAQs
Who is Patti LaBelle's partner?
Armstead Edwards was LaBelle’s partner.
How many siblings does Patti LaBelle have?
She has four siblings.
How many grandkids does Patti LaBelle have?
LaBelle has three adorable grandchildren. Her social media pages are filled with pictures, which shows how strong their bond is.
Patti LaBelle’s birthday dates