Aretha franklin biography
She is both a 20th and 21st century musical and cultural icon known the world over simply by her first name: Aretha. The reigning and undisputed “Queen Of Soul” has created an amazing legacy that spans an incredible six decades, from her first recording as a teenage gospel star, to her most recent RCA Records release, ARETHA FRANKLIN SINGS THE GREAT DIVA CLASSICS.
Her many countless classics include “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “Chain Of Fools,” “I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)”; her own compositions “Think,” “Daydreaming” and “Call Me”; her definitive versions of “Respect” and “I Say A Little Prayer”; and global hits like “Freeway Of Love,” “Jump To It,” “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me),” her worldwide chart-topping duet with George Michael, and “A Rose Is Still A Rose.”
The recipient of the U.S.A.’s highest civilian honor, The Presidential Medal Of Freedom, an eighteen (and counting) GRAMMY Award winner – the most recent of which was for Best Gospel Performance for “Never Gonna Break My Faith” with Mary J. Blige in 2008 – a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement and GRAMMY Living Legend awardee, Aretha Franklin’s powerful, distinctive gospel-honed vocal style has influenced countless singers across multi-generations, justifiably earning her Rolling Stone magazine’s No. 1 placing on the list of “The Greatest Singers Of All Time.”
Marking a glorious reunion with music industry legend Clive Davis (Chief Creative Officer for Sony Music Entertainment) – with whom she worked for the longest period of her recording career, twenty-three years at Arista Records (1980-2003) – Aretha continues her time-honored tradition of creating new music that is innovative, vital and fresh. With the 2014 release of ARETHA FRANKLIN SINGS THE GREAT DIVA CLASSICS, Aretha put her indelible stamp on ten songs previously recorded by other female artists – and in her own inimitable way (as she has time and time again), she makes each one her own.
Working with hitmaking producers Clive Davis, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, André “3000” Benjamin, Eric Kupper, Harvey Mason Jr. and Chicago DJ/producer Terry Hunter, co-producing and doing all the vocal arrangements for the project, Aretha put her personal and ever-soulful stamp on both contemporary hits and time-honored pop, soul and jazz standards, reimagining certain cuts with the inclusion of cleverly-created musical blends such as “I Will Survive” which includes an interlude from Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor” and “I’m Every Woman,” featuring her 2014 take on her own timeless anthem, “Respect.” An all-star musical cast on ARETHA FRANKLIN SINGS THE GREAT DIVA CLASSICS includes special guest sax great Kirk Whalum, longtime friend and musical associate Cissy Houston alongside background vocalists Fonzi Thornton, Tawatha Agee, Vaneese Thomas and Brenda White-King who regularly accompany Aretha in live performances.
The result is simply stunning: introducing her brilliant gospel-fired makeover of Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” (with a wonderful musical bridge from the Motown classic, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”) on The David Letterman Show, Aretha received an immediate standing ovation and within a week, the track had received over two million views on Vevo.
“Mr. Davis came to me with the idea,” says Aretha. “He suggested some of the artists and songs which included many that I myself enjoyed. We both agreed that there was a whole new generation who may never have heard the original recordings.”
Noting that she is “absolutely thrilled with the whole CD and very happy with the work I put into it,” Aretha shares her thoughts on the ten tracks that comprise her remarkable 45th album (excluding compilations):
Celebrating having her 100th R&B-charted single with “Rolling In The Deep (The Aretha Version),” making her the first woman and fourth artist in history to have done so, Aretha says, “I recorded it in between doing shows on the road so it was hectic – and I’m very happy with everything on this project. Working with Mr. Davis again – well, there’s nothing like it. We’re a perfect match: he’s very genuine and there’s mutual respect. He’s not just another chieftain – he cares. The producers were all great.
Adding another magnificent jewel to her crown and her catalog of timeless music, Aretha expresses the kind of joy usually experienced by first-time recording artists, noting: “I’m truly having a lot of fun and I’m bowled over by the response to this album. It’s truly very, very, very exciting!”
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