Kelly performed “Soldier’s Heart,” a song he says he wrote specifically for Mandela and performed for the former South African President in 2009. It was a sweet and subtle moment from the singer, who chose to ditch his sex genius schtick for a minute to sit behind the piano and just sing from the heart.
After his performance, Kelly talked about performing the song for Mandela in his living room, saying after he finished the song the former South African President just shook his head. “He was very happy and very honored, as I was to be in his presence,” Kelly explained.
Adding, “When I started performing the song for him on his piano, man, it was unbelievable, it was an unbelievable moment for me. As it is now.”
Arsenio, who dedicated the show to Mandela, began the night by sitting down with Kelly — whose new album Black Panties is out Dec. 10 — to talk about the legacy of the man who brought democracy to South Africa.
“He was a spirit walking,” Kelly said. “And being around him inspired me to even go further in my life, my walk and my career and everything man. He’s just an incredible power.”