The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, is back in a big way. The Detroit-native and one of the world's most recognizable Motown stars isn't going quietly into any sweet goodnight, and, in fact, despite a bout of recent ill health in the past few years, she's out and about more than she has been at any other time in recent history, including touring across the country.
Franklin is right where she likes to be at the moment: On top of the world. Back in October, she released her brand new album Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics to rave reviews, all of which marveled at the power of her still-incredible voice, even at 72 years old.
The singer herself was quite please with the results, as well, as she told The Detroit News over the weekend: "I absolutely love the CD," Franklin beamed.
"When Clive (Davis) brought me the list and the concept, I loved it and the songs. I bought many of those records. I probably bought all of them, with the exception of "Rolling in the Deep" and Sinead O'Connor (her take on Prince's "Nothing Compares 2 U"), but I enjoyed "Rolling in the Deep," when the first time I watched Adele's promo video, with all those young people on the bus just having one wild time singing it. I said 'Absolutely, I want to do it, I love that melody.' "
The hit Adele song seemed like the perfect fit for someone like Franklin, relying on a strong female voice that could carry a ballad-like quality throughout. And despite having never met or spoken to Adele before, Franklin was able to channel the diva spirit of the song and remake it to something completely all her own.
"We don't know each other, we've never met," Franklin says of the British performer, "but she's a fine singer and a very, very good writer."
Regardless, nothing has been able to slow Aretha Franklin down. Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics debuted in the middle of the previous month at No. 13 on Billboard's 200 album chart, which may not seem that impressive at first in the shadow of entertainers like Taylor Swift, who is breaking new sales records every day. But remember, Swift wasn't even born when Franklin was releasing No. 1 records. In fact, Taylor Swift's parents were probably just very young children themselves or not even born in Franklin's heyday, making the fact that Franklin is even still recording, let alone scoring a No. 13 ranking, all the more impressive.
Currently, the new album now sits at No. 41 and still selling strong.
One thing that Franklin is less-than-pleased about concerns the new unauthorized autobiography that was recently-released by her former ghostwriter, David Ritz, who helped to pen her 1999 book "From These Roots." Ritz's new work, "Respect", takes what he claims to be is a more fair and accurate portrayal of the former Motown star, though Franklin herself begs to differ.
"It's lies, lies, lies and then more lies," Franklin says of the new book. "I'm talking to a criminal attorney. If this isn't defamation, I don't know what would be, although I understand it's still hard to prove from the celebrity point of view."
If anything, the controversy over the new book does prove one thing: The public still loves and is very much interested in one of Detroit's brightest and most well-revered stars and will be for some time.
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