In the year of the surprise album (Beyonce, U2) comes the nicest one of all: Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul, will drop her first new album in many years on September 30th courtesy of Clive Davis. Seems impossible but even as we speak Aretha has finished her vocals, Babyface and a few others are working with Clive to finish the mixes, the album art is done and pr whiz Theola Borden at RCA-Arista is revving up the media.
Aretha make a historic appearance on David Letterman on September 29th to announce the album. And she will sing the lead single, which will blow your minds. I heard it today. Aretha has recorded her own spectacular version of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.” Yes, that “Rolling in the Deep.” And with all respect to Adele, which Aretha gives, this version of the song is jaw dropping. It swings and rocks.
Adele, mind you, is learning about this right here. None of the writers or singers whom Aretha has covered got advance word.
They will know it when Aretha hits the Today show October 3rd. In between, on October 1st, she and Clive appear in a Q&A at the 92nd St. Y that is going to be jammed with media. It’s already sold out.
The album is called, tentatively, “Aretha Franklin Sings Songs of the Great Divas.” It’s a tribute to ten different women, with Aretha re-interpreting their songs. Babyface and Andre 3000 are among the producers. Clive is executive producers. They all came up with the songs together.
The tracks are completely brilliant, and a breath of fresh freaking air. If you thought Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, Annie Lennox, and Barbra Streisand were going to be Grammy favorites, add Aretha to that mix, and stand back.
Right now, Clive and the team are speeding toward a 9/30 release to make the Grammy deadline. If nothing else, it will go digital that day. Physical CDs will follow immediately.
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