Aretha Franklin cancelled planned performances in 2016 on her doctor’s orders. This week she announced her intention to retire at the end of the year.
In an interview with Detroit Local 4's Evrod Cassimy, Franklin said that she is working on a final album with Stevie Wonder. It’s hard to imagine someone as vibrant as Franklin actually retiring, and when talking about her new work she sounds like someone just getting started. “I am exuberant about it, I can’t wait to get in the studio,” she said. “And of course, several of the songs are produced by Stevie, and of course there’s only one Stevie, right?”
Franklin told Cassimy that her grandchildren are leaving for college and she wants to spend time with them. This final album is planned for release in September, at which point she’ll do a very limited tour of about one performance a month for six months. She says that this is definitely her last year in concert, though she may still be recording in future.
HOWEVER: Franklin adds that there may be “some select things” on her calendar, like more once-a-month performances after the tour officially ends. After 56 years of being one of the greatest performers on earth you don’t quit cold turkey. Franklin says, “I feel very, very enriched and satisfied with respect to where my career came from, and where it is now,” adding, “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.”