aretha franklin

‘Queen Of Soul’ Aretha Franklin To Retire In 2017: ‘This Will Be My Last Year’

One of the greatest voices in music, the incomparable Aretha Franklin, has announced her plans to retire from performing after a near six-decade long career.

While teasing the release of her upcoming 43rd studio album with Click On Detroit, the 74-year-old Michigan native and “Queen of Soul” explained her intentions to hang up her microphone before the end of 2017.

“I must tell you, I am retiring this year,” Ms. Franklin confirmed to reporter Evrod Cassimy.

“This will be my last year. I will be recording, but this will be my last year in concert. This is it.”

For nearly 56 years, Ms. Franklin’s powerful voice has been the soundtrack to many music listeners’ lives, providing comfort and strength through iconic offerings such as “Respect,” “Natural Woman,” and “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves,” along with other well-regarded tunes.

Her most recent LP, 2014’s Aretha Franklin Sings The Great Diva Classics, saw the singing legend taking on hits by artists who were clearly influenced by her, including the late Etta James, Alicia Keys, and Adele, whose hit “Rolling In The Deep,” was mashed-up with Diana Ross and The Supremes’ “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” for the recording.

Hearing of Aretha Franklin’s farewell to music will surely break the collective hearts of her fans, but before anyone gets too despondent over the news, know that her retirement plans will only affect one aspect of her career, which is the “live” part.

“[I will do] some select things, many one a month, for six months out of the year,” she interjected, while also noting that by doing “one or two concerts a month,” she’ll be able to spend more time with her grandchildren before they attend college in the fall.

aretha franklin
Franklin began her secular recording and performing career in 1961. [Image by Express Newspapers/Stringer/Getty Images]

“[Singing is] what I’ve done all of my life,” Ms. Franklin continued.

“I feel very, very enriched and satisfied with respect to where my career came from, and where it is now. [I’m] pretty much satisfied, but I’m not going to go anywhere and just sit down and do nothing. That wouldn’t be good, either.”

Since 1961, Ms. Franklin has been able to enthrall audiences of all generations with a vocal style that many have tried and failed to effectively emulate over the years. While most of her peers have sadly come and gone as time moves forward; such as the aforementioned Etta James, who passed away in 2012, Aretha Franklin effectively held her own in the ever-changing music industry while also consistently proving her relevance in our current musical scope.

For example, her spirited rendition of the National Anthem during last year’s Detroit Lions/Minnesota Vikings match-up on Thanksgiving Day, which was noted by Billboard, still gets brought up often as being one of the most memorable takes provided by an artist in recent history due to both its length (nearly four minutes as opposed to its usually shorter run time) and arrangement style.

Speaking of history, Aretha couldn’t help but offer her excitement about another legendary music artist, Stevie Wonder, sharing his talent with her on the new album, which is currently untitled, but it is set for release at some time in September of this year.

“Several of the songs are going to be produced by Stevie [Wonder],” Ms. Franklin remarked, “and of course there’s only one Stevie, right?”

Although she hasn’t recorded a note for the upcoming LP just yet, the singer also promises that unlike her last offering, which publications like The Telegraph greatly disproved of due to its lack of originality, all tracks on the soon-to-come release will be completely fresh.

“It’s kind of multi-directional,” she said of the disc. “We’re not pigeonholed to any one thing.”

Feel free to share your favorite Aretha Franklin performance highlights in the comments section.

[Featured Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]