Thursday, October 19, 2017
Aretha Returns
By Kimberley Williams (Contributing Writer)
Published June 18, 2009

                                                 Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin, “Queen of Soul,” recipient of 20 Grammy Awards, including the Living Legend and Lifetime Achievement awards, returns to the Hollywood Bowl after 35 years!

To sing “everything” she can “think of.”

“I’m going to really enjoy being back in L.A.; it’s just a place I really feel good about. I love the concert audience there. It’s the kind of audience that just makes you want to sing all night. So, I can’t wait to get back,” Franklin joyously said during a recent interview.

Ms. Franklin will play the piano on at least three songs during the concert at the Bowl; one of these songs will be “Doctor Feel Good.” She said she will also play on a few new songs that are featured on her album, “Aretha – A Woman Falling out of Love,” due for release in the fall. Not falling “in” she emphasized, but falling “out” of love. Apparently she has recently fallen out of love with a younger man who will remain anonymous.

Ms. Franklin comes from a family whose commitment to civil rights and the gospel are well known; so I asked her how she felt singing at President Obama’s inauguration and what her take on the historic event was. Here is what she had to say, “It was almost indescribable; a magnificent moment and a magnificent day! Even though I only had 3 hours sleep, [it was] 19 degrees…which affected my performance; and I hated that, but there was nothing I could do; I couldn’t argue with Mother Nature. He [Obama] walked right in to history on that day.

“I understood during the run [for the Presidency], particularly when Barack [Obama]… was out in Grants Park and Jesse [Jackson] was there crying; I felt I knew all of the reasons why he was crying.

“Mr. President represented the fruition of all of the labors of the civil rights movement and the struggles of the civil rights movement and so on; and here it is coming to fruition. So I am sure that he [Jackson] thought about the many days and the many nights of struggle with Dr. King and all the many problems that went along with it.”

When I praised Ms. Franklin (who asked me to call her Aretha) on the feminist content of her lyrics over the years she felt inclined to remind me, and perhaps others as well, that “many women” before and during her time have, and I quote, “laid those [values] and had those influences [such as, self-respect, integrity, honesty with self and others, and dignity] like, Mary McCloud Bethune and Sojourner Truth and Barbara Jordan (who was one of my favorite people) and Coretta Scott King and Dorothy Haight, Sheila Jackson, Dianne Watson, Maxine Waters, and on and on and on. These are some of my favorite people.”

Aretha wants us to know that she is a singer who loves to sing and that she is “everyday people,” as she put it. She is looking forward to her performance at the Bowl and to seeing her L.A. audience again.

Franklin performs at the Hollywood Bowl for one night only, June 26th.

Categories: Music

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