Patti LaBelle is an American soul diva, born in 1944, singing professionally since the early 60's, and still going strong. She is best known for her hit "On My Own", together with Michael McDonald, and her work with the group LaBelle, notably the hit single Lady Marmalade (which gave the world the immortal pickup line voulez-vous coucher avec moi (ce soir)?.
Born Patricia Holte in Philadelphia, Patti comes from a background of gospel singing, like so many soul stars. She has an exceptionally powerful voice and impressive range (as she demonstrated quite amply at the first Live Aid concert back in the '80s), but can also convey a whole range of emotions.
References : wikipedia
Plenty of youtube clips, but I won't link them as they have a tendency to move or disappear. But go have a listen if you like your soul music, there's some good stuff there. Check her out singing a very gospel Alphabet with The Muppets!