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Aretha Franklin still planning to retire from the stage

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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Reports of Aretha Franklin’s impending retirement have not been exaggerated.

“It’s still moving in that direction. It’s winding down,” the singer said Thursday during a conversation from her Bloomfield Hills. Franklin -- the Grammy Award-winning Rock and Roll Hall of Famer known as the Queen of Soul -- says that wear-and-tear from 54 years of being on the road has made it time to bring a curtain down on that aspect of her life and career.

“There’s a warranty on everything,” Franklin, 75, said. “I’m not happy, exactly, about doing something that you’ve been doing for 54 years that you really, really love. But nothing lasts forever.”

That said, Franklin noted that there are “still a lot of things I want to do.” That includes a new album slated for January that will feature collaborations with Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Lionel Richie and Yitzhak Perlman, and a food line she’s working on with Krispy Kreme. Franklin also has a museum, a nightclub/restaurant and a biopic in various stages of development.

Franklin will be given some R-E-S-P-E-C-T from her home town next week. A section of Madison Ave. between Brush and Witherell streets in Detroit will be renamed Aretha Franklin Way on Thursday, June 8. “That is phenomenal,” Franklin says. “It’s such an honor to be honored by the city that you’ve lived in all of your life.”

The following night a wealth of Detroit musicians will gather to play tribute to her at the Detroit Music Hall Center. And on Saturday, June 10, she’ll be performing a free show on an outdoor stage near the Music Hall as the headliner of the inaugural Detroit Music Weekend. Details can be found at detroitmusicweekend.org.

For more about Aretha Franklin, read the Oakland Press Arts section on Sunday, June 5.

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