Christina Aguilera Pays Tribute to Etta James

Christina Aguilera, at Etta James’s funeral

Toby Canham/Getty

01/29/2012 AT 10:15 AM ET

Etta James was remembered in words and music Saturday at a funeral in Gardena, Calif., featuring a moving performance of “At Last” by Christina Aguilera.

Aguilera, who includes the song in her shows, offered this tribute to the 73-year-old R&B legend for PEOPLE:

“It isn’t every day that an artist can meet the person who inspired them and their career. Not only did I have the incredible opportunity of meeting my idol, the legendary Ms. Etta James, but to be asked by her family to perform at her memorial was so very touching and yet bitter sweet.


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