‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin has announced she will retire after she releases her final album this year.
The 74-year-old singer revealed the news to Detroit’s WDIV Local 4, adding her new record, produced by Stevie Wonder, will be accompanied by a small-scale tour with only one show planned each month “maybe for six months.”
“I must tell you, I am retiring this year,” Franklin said. “This will be my last year. I will be recording, but this will be my last year in concert. This is it.”
The singer-songwriter noted her grandchildren are heading to college this year and she wants to spend time with them before then. Franklin said retirement is bittersweet after being in the business since she was 14 years old but cautioned she won’t completely retreat from the industry. Franklin said she will still do “some select things, many one a month, for six months out of the year.”
Of her upcoming release, which will be recorded in Detroit and consist of all-new material, Franklin said she was feeling excited about the project.
“I’m exuberant about it,” she said. “I can’t wait to get into the studio. It’s kind of multi-[directional]. We’re not pigeonholed to any one thing.”
Franklin’s career has spanned six decades and saw her mark numerous milestones in the process, including earning eight gold and two platinum albums. Aside from releasing a string of hits, including her famous Otis Redding cover “Respect,” the 18-time Grammy winner became a symbol for Black equality during the civil rights movement. More recently, she performed at Barack Obama’s 2009 presidential inauguration and her last album, her 51st, called “Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics,” made it to No. 3 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.
“I feel very, very enriched and satisfied with respect to where my career came from and where it is now,” Franklin told the Michigan-based news station. “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.”