SAN FRANCISCO - The sounds of Aretha Franklin filled the lounge of Beaux, a San Francisco bar and dance club, on Thursday night where three Bay Area female musicians paid tribute to the late Queen of Soul.
Renee Lubin, a performer with Beach Blanket Babylon for more than three decades, paid homage by singing Franklin's songs.
Lubin is also a vocal coach at San Francisco State University. Like Franklin, her musical background came from church.
"I grew up in the church. I see Aretha, hear the sound of her voice. You realize where all of that beautiful mixture came from," said Lubin.
On keyboard is Dee Spencer, professor of musical theater at San Francisco State.
"You feel her energy. It's undeniable," said Spencer. She says "Respect" has become an anthem.
"People today look at that song and use it as part of the civil rights movement, as part of the women's march. And people are walking around going R-E-S-P-E-C-T," said Spencer.
These artists say they first heard Franklin's music as young girls when family members played her records. They admire her versatility and ability to convey emotion.
"She didn't just do R&B, she did jazz. She did rock. She did gospel. She was amazing," said Lubin.
Deborah Coley is a professional vocalist by night and works at a hospital by day.
She says the power of Franklin's music is in the way it spoke to people.
"I found her to be very empowering to women and to people of color about standing up for yourself, doing what was right, believing in yourself," said Coley.
Her influence, these women say, is undeniable: a powerful female artist in control of her own destiny.
"We have to be grateful. Wow, she brought so much to our lives," said Spencer.
"I wouldn't be on stage now if it wasn't for artists like her," said Lubin.
Franklin's fans say her voice will never be silenced, that her legacy lives on through those she's inspired and empowered.
Whenever her music played at Beaux, people were smiling and moving to the rhythm.