THE QUEEN OF SOUL SAYS SHE’S READY TO SURRENDER HER THRONE
Details of the Queen of Soul’s decision to retire from the road.
Naturally, a woman has the right to change her mind, but Aretha Franklin says she’s made up hers: “I must tell you, I’m retiring this year,” the soul diva proclaims. “I will be recording, but this will be my last year in concert. This is it.”
After 56 years as a singer-songwriter, Aretha’s ready to call it a career, but not before she records a new album, expected in September, which she’ll promote with a few concert dates. “Some select things,” she says, “once a month, for six months out of the year.”
Touring has become harder for the superstar, who turns 75 on March 25, as she’s had health issues. Over the past few years, she has canceled shows, most recently in August, “due to doctor’s orders,” as she said at the time.
HEART AND SOUL
Although Aretha has said she now feels great, she is ready for a lighter schedule, in part to focus on her family. A mother of four, she has grandchildren who will leave for college soon, and she wants to spend quality time with them. Her role as the family’s matriarch “is really important to her,” biographer David Ritz tells Closer. “She’s been super conscientious.”
Aretha admits she’s ambivalent about retiring. “I feel very enriched with respect to where my career came from and where it is now,” she says. “I’ll be pretty much satisfied. But I’m not just going to sit down and do nothing.” In fact, she’s recording her new album in Detroit with Stevie Wonder. “Several of the songs are going to be produced by Stevie, and there’s only one Stevie, right?” she says of the project, which is expected to include all original material and span several musical genres. “We’re not pigeonholed into any one thing.”
So her reign as the Queen of Soul may end with a bang. “She’s still singing her ass off,” Ritz says. “Her biggest song was ‘Respect,’ and in her own way, she’s earned the respect of the world.”
“Every birthday is a gift. Every day is a gift.” — Aretha
She’s won 19 Grammys over the years, starting with her first two for “Respect” in
1967. Aretha says it’s “ridiculous” she’s never recorded with