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Patti LaBelle Talks New Music + Her Advice For Women Turning 50

"So no, I didn't believe in myself as a youngster, but I believe the hell in myself now!" — Patti LaBelle

Patti LaBelle has rightfully earned her spot in the line up of music legends and at 79, has no plans of stopping any time soon. She’s scheduled to headline the Classic Concert at the Southern Heritage Classic in September, and just last week, she was one of QVC’s “Quintessential 50” women during their “Age of Possibility” summit in Las Vegas, where she shared some exciting news.

Patti LaBelle at QVC summit.
Patti LaBelle at QVC summit.Denise Truscello / Contributor / Getty

At the summit, which brought together 50 women over 50 to celebrate aging and all that’s to come once you hit 50, LaBelle joined Christina Applegate, Rita Wilson, Billie Jean King and Martha Stewart for a panel on friendship, personal growth and learning to embrace your age, moderated by First for Women’s Editor-in-Chief, Liz Vaccariello. When Vacciarello asked LaBelle what opportunity for personal growth the icon is embracing in this decade of her life, LaBelle replied, “Well, I am 80 years young in one month, May 25. I’ve been working on an album, and it will be out soon!”

Related: Martha Stewart, Queen Latifah, Christina Applegate, Donna Kelce + More Celebrate What It Means to Be Over 50 With QVC

Below, the singer, actress and “Godmother of Soul” talks with First for Women about what she hopes will come from her new album, the true meaning of female friendship and her amazing advice for women staring down their 50th birthdays. 

FIRST FOR WOMEN (FFW): How are you living your life differently now than in your 30s and 40s?

PATTI LABELLE: I’ve grown to not listen to opinions of others in my music, my hair, whatever. Because at the end of this thing, I love my mind. So therefore I’m going to swallow my mind and do everything I want to do.

FFW: Have you always believed in yourself, or is that something that’s come with age? 

PATTI LABELLE: No, I believed in other’s voices, and them telling me what I should be doing, what I shouldn’t do. So no, I didn’t believe in myself as a youngster, but I believe the hell in myself now.

FFW: What is the biggest thing you want your listeners to take away from your album?

PATTI LABELLE: I want them to take away some good music! I just want them to enjoy it. So, it’s very personal and very scary to put out an album because you never know the response you’re going to get.

FFW: What is your advice for actually embracing the mindset of not caring what others think as you get older?

PATTI LABELLE: If you really believe in yourself and believe in what your truth is, you really shouldn’t listen to anyone else. It’s not about what you look like. As Judge Judy says, “Your mind is the only one that matters.” Don’t worry about what other people think.

FFW: What advice would you give women approaching their 50s who are scared of aging?

PATTI LABELLE: I’d just say you can’t be a punk. So many women are afraid to turn 50, and then when they do, they say, “Well what am I going to do?” and here comes a pity party, because you think you’re not worth it, and you think you can’t deal with people, you can’t please anyone, because you’re a washed up hag at 50.

FFW: What’s a valuable lesson about female friendship that you have learned over the years?

PATTI LABELLE: If you can find a good friend, hold on to them. Because some people are so, so pretentious, you don’t know if they’re for real, but the friends I have, I know they’re true. And you know, hold onto them.

FFW: How would you define friendship?

PATTI LABELLE: Someone who gives, but is not looking for something back — and that’s from the soul and the Spirit. Just give.

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

For more celebrity inspiration, click through these stories:

Stacy London’s 3 Tips for Embracing Your Personal Style — & Authentic Self — as You Age

Marie Osmond Shares the Advice She’d Give Her Younger Self: “Give Yourself a Break, Make Peace With Your Body” (EXCLUSIVE)

Denise Austin on How She’s Prepping for Her Daughter’s Wedding + Her Easy At-Home Workout

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