The Queen of Soul will soon be abdicating from the stage later this year. In an interview with Detroit's WDIV Local 4 News
, Aretha Franklin announced that she is releasing a new album, which will be her 42nd studio LP, and that she intends to retire from performing following its release. "This will be my last year," said the legendary singer, "I will be recording, but this will be my last year in concert. This is it."
While millions of her generation-spanning fans may be sad to see Aretha go, it at least sounds like she's got a lot in store before she takes her final bow. Her new album will be recorded in her hometown of Detroit, and will consist of completely original material that will serve as a tribute to the Motor City. The legendary Stevie Wonder will also be helping with production on the album, and don't be surprised if you hear more artists jump at the occasion to be on Aretha's final record in the coming months. It probably doesn't need to be said, but with a massive list of chart-topping hits and a career that spans nearly six decades, Aretha Franklin is easily one of the most successful and influential artists in music history. Growing up singing gospel, she took the style she learned in church and used it to create a new brand of female-driven soul and R&B that still sounds as fresh and exciting today as it did when it was first released. She opened the door for countless female soul singers to step out from behind the scenes and into the mainstream spotlight, and she her work has influenced countless artists, from Whitney Houston to George Michael to Beyonce. Her work may have helped shape some of today's best and most talented singers, but even after all these years, no one can quite belt it out like Aretha.
Franklin says that while she will be touring, the shows will be limited to about six performances in six months. There won't be a ton of opportunities to see the Queen live, but at 74 and after a literal lifetime of music, she has a right to not tire herself out at this point. Besides, Aretha did mention that she's open to "some select things, many one a month, for six months out of the year," so don't lose all hope if you can't see her live this time around. While she'll be slowing down in retirement, Aretha luckily plans to keep music in her life in some capacity. "I feel very, very enriched and satisfied with respect to where my career came from, and where it is now," she said, "I'll be pretty much satisfied, but I'm not going to go anywhere and just sit down and do nothing. That wouldn't be good either."
Enjoy your retirement, Mrs. Franklin. Lord knows you deserve it.