American singer Madonna has reveled how Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul who passed way at age 76 on August 16, impacted her career at the just ended MTV Video Music Awards.

Before presenting the MTV Video Music Awards' prestigious , the 60-year-old singer paid a tribute to Aretha, revealing how she had more of a hand in Madonna's career than fans might expect.

Madonna made a lengthy emotional speech recalling performing an accapella of Aretha's career favourite "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" at an audition for back-up dancers in New York City, after leaving Detroit at age 18 with just 35 dollars in her pocket.

Though Madonna didn't mention the "French disco sensation" whom she auditioned to tour with by name, her speech presumably refers to Patrick Hernandez, who famously invited a young Madonna on his 1979 world tour.

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"When they asked me if I had sheet music and a song prepared, I panicked," Madonna remembered. "Fortunately, one of my favorite albums was Lady Soul by Aretha Franklin."

"None of this could have happened, would have happened, without this lady of soul," Madonna continued. "She influenced so many people in this house tonight, in this room tonight, and I want to thank you, Aretha, for empowering all of us. R-E-S-P-E-C-T, long live the queen."

Watch Madonna's speech paying tribute to Franklin below.