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Aretha Franklin: How ‘the Queen of Soul’ inspired teen stars across generations . . .


The outpouring of love, tributes, and tears in the wake of the passing of renowned soul singer, Aretha Franklin, has flowed in torrents with global icons and world leaders joining the moment of emotion. Musicians around the world also made emotional tributes to Aretha Franklin.

Franklin’s fans paid tribute with flowers and a crown left on her Hollywood Walk of Fame star in Los Angeles. “In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds,” Franklin’s family statement reads.
“We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world. Thank you for your compassion and prayers. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.”

Aretha Franklin, whose gospel-rooted singing and bluesy yet expensive delivery earned her the title “the Queen of Soul”, was born in Memphis Tennessee in 1942. Over the course of a professional career that spanned more than half a century, Franklin’s songs not only topped the charts but became part of the vernacular.
With her career taken off in her teens, she quickly became one of the most powerful voices of the 20th century and female role model of the ages. Franklin was unique and original, described as a musical repertoire. She’s “not only the definitive female soul singer of the sixties,” according to her biography, “she’s also one of the most important and influential voices in pop history.”

Raised mostly in Detroit, where her father, C.L. Franklin, was a prominent minister and a nationally known gospel singer, Franklin sang in the choir of her father’s church and, though she declined her dad’s offer of piano lessons and taught herself instead, began recording gospel music at age 14. Her career would later inspire other great music star singers.

Singers including Britney Spears, Adele, Gloria Estefan, Usher, Willie Nelson and Mariah Carey were among those whose words confirmed her appeal and influence across generations. Mariah Carey, who performed with Franklin multiple times, shared several tweets in which she described Franklin as “my inspiration, my mentor and my friend”.

“Aretha Franklin. The Queen of Soul. The Icon. The ultimate singers’ singer,” wrote Carey. “The greatest singer and musician of my lifetime. The power of your voice in music and in civil rights blew open the door for me and so many others.”

In Nigeria, renowned soul singer, Essence, also had words out immediately after a television interview on the life and times of the legendary singer. In her post on Instagram, Essence wrote: “It was an absolute honour to be called upon to give my take on the demise of legendary singer/actor Aretha Franklin by @channelstelevion this evening. She shaped my singing style and I taught myself to sing by listening to her and the likes of Pattie Labbele and other vocal power houses. She has run her race…she ran well, no stories of drug abuse or any sort. She will forever be my inspirations. RIP ARETHA LOUISE FRANKLIN”

Franklin had many hit songs such as ‘I Say a Little Prayer’, ‘A Natural Woman’, ‘Respect’. She was also a champion of civil rights performing at the funeral of Martin Luther King and the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Aretha Franklin, the teenage gospel singer who rose to become the Queen of Soul, selling 75 million records and inspiring generations with the range of her achievements and her commitment continued to be an inspiration to young musicians everywhere. It is clear however, that with such her other songs as ‘Do Right Woman – Do Right Man’, ‘One Lord One Faith One Baptism’, it is those great early hits that will remain the defining work of “the Queen of Soul”.

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