Aretha Franklin

Jon Pack/NBC via Getty Images

Aretha Franklin worked her entire life to earn some R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

So, it should come as no surprise that the 74-year-old Queen of Soul is stepping out of the spotlight. "I must tell you, I am retiring this year," she told Detroit TV station Local 4 Tuesday. "This will be my last year. I will be recording, but this will be my last year in concert. This is it."

Fans needn't panic: the 17-time Grammy Award winner clarified she's not retiring completely. Franklin will do "some select things," she said. "One a month, for six months out of the year."

Why walk away from the music industry now?

Franklin's grandchildren are leaving for college and she wants to spend time with them. The retirement announcement is bittersweet, she said, because "it's what I've done all of my life."

"I feel very, very enriched and satisfied with respect to where my career came from, and where it is now," the "Chain of Fools" singer explained. "I'll be pretty much satisfied," she added, "but I'm not going to go anywhere and just sit down and do nothing. That wouldn't be good either."

Franklin plans to record a final album—her 42nd—and release it in September.

"Of course, several of the songs are going to be produced by [Stevie Wonder], and of course there's only one Stevie, right? It's kind of multi-[directional]. We're not pigeonholed to any one thing," she said. Franklin added that she plans to record the original music near where she lives. "I keep my business in Detroit," Franklin told the TV station, "or as close to Detroit as possible."

The album will be Franklin's first since 2014's Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics.

Franklin said she is "exuberant" about her new album and "can't wait to get in the studio."

  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share