On Thursday, the “Lady Marmalade” singer and Godmother of Soul, 74, appeared on E!’s Busy Tonight, where she revealed that she’s often gotten strict Carey in the past.
“Mariah’s my goddaughter,” LaBelle told host Busy Philipps. “I have to slap her every now and then, but she’s so phenomenal and so good, she doesn’t need to be slapped anymore. That’s my baby.”
Perhaps that’s something LaBelle can blame on her alter-ego, Priscilla. “She comes out whenever she has to,” LaBelle said. “I’m a Gemini, like I told you, and I have all these different personalities. Sometimes I’m so annoyed … when things are not done the way I need to see them, I get a little a little Priscilla-ish. And then I snap out of it. That other Gemini takes over and she says, ‘Patti, don’t do that.’ “
“She’s ugly. She’s [a] very, very bad girl. I don’t like her,” ” LaBelle joked, of Priscilla. “She’s not cute but she’s healthy. I’m 74 years young, she’s been with me all these years, she’s keeping me going.”
LaBelle sure has been going, with a near six-decade career in music. With all her experience, she often dolls out advice to younger musicians, including Carey.
“I’ve talked to a lot of young girls. I’ve been mentors to so many… Beyoncé, Mary J. [Blige]… God, so many,” she recalled. “I talk to all of these young ladies because they’re ladies. And that’s my job.”
Her biggest piece of advice? “I hate saying this but, ‘Keep your clothes on,’ ‘ she said. “That talent will show. You don’t have to do this and do that to show that.”
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Elsewhere on Busy Tonight, LaBelle opened up about her long friendship with Elton John.
“That’s my boy… you know he was my piano player back in the day?” she told Philipps of John, who went by Reginald Dwight back then. “In London, we lived there. He was hungry and his band was hungry so I would give him food to take back to wherever they lived.”
The next time they saw one another, “Reginald” was going by his stage name — and leading his own concerts. And though she lamented about his success (“I said, ‘What? You made it before me, punk?”), LaBelle knew it meant that she could finally get her Tupperware back.
John did better. “He ended up paying me with a diamond ring,” she said.
Busy Tonight airs Monday through Thursdays (11 p.m. ET) on E!