Carole King and Gerry Goffin wrote “(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman” for Aretha Franklin in 1967. In 2015, Franklin gave King a gift back, by singing “Natural Woman” for her when she was being celebrated at the Kennedy Center Honors. The songwriter’s visible reaction, capture on video alongside fellow attendee Barack Obama’s, was almost as priceless as the Queen of Soul’s performance itself.

King offered her recollections of that night — which went down just three years before Franklin died in 2018 — in conversation with “Respect” star Jennifer Hudson for this week’s Variety cover story. Watch a video excerpt from the conversation above, as Hudson exclaims “I want to know that, too!” when King is asked what was going through her mind as she watched Franklin reach such a late-career high on that illustrious night in D.C.

“At the show, the very first thing I see her is her come out wearing the mink. Was it Clara Ward who wears the mink in the movie?” asks King, as Hudson affirms the thought. “Aretha took her inspiration from those gospel singers with that, and I was like, ‘Well, that’s cool.’ Then she sat down at the piano. She’s a great player, but she had not been playing piano in her later life like she used to. In that footage, you see me turn to my daughter and I say, ‘She’s playing!’ Then everything went up and up and up, and she gets to ‘You make me feel so aliiiive,’ and I’m like, ‘Oh, my God.’ She was giving her all in a way I had not seen her give in a long time. And then, of course, she drops the mink. I was in the balcony, but my friend who was on the orchestra level heard it go thud.”

I am so mad to this day that I was not there in that very room,” says Hudson. “I totally understood every tear that Obama cried when she sang that song. … I’m getting chills even thinking about it. I don’t even know if I could put it into words. First of all, when I see greatness, I just want to be in the presence of it. And it does not get any greater than Aretha Franklin. Then, I’m sure Obama grew up also listening to ‘Natural Woman.’ All the history in it, all the substance in it… To see this woman sitting here today — or 2015 at the time — in the flesh, playing and singing, and it’s Aretha Franklin, to be able to witness that is a gift. It is. At least for me.

“And that’s where ‘Singing My Way Home’ came from,” says Hudson, referring to “Here I Am (Singing My Way Home),” the song she co-wrote with King for the end credits of the new film. “Even in her last days, what was she doing? She was on the piano, still singing. And she sang until she sang her way home.”

Read more of Variety‘s cover conversation between King and Hudson here, and an additional profile of Hudson and her work on “Respect” here.