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Aretha: The Queen of Soul Tribute
January 17, 2020 @ 7:30 pm
Aronoff Center$37.75 – $51.75
Photo credit: Cincinnati Arts Association Official Website
Relive the soulful songs from a true icon at Aretha: The Queen of Soul Cincinnati Tribute featuring Charity Lockhart.
âAll Hail the Queen!â Aretha Franklinâs iconic career spanned six decades, inspiring and influencing generations of aspiring musicians and vocalists. In her life, she recorded countless classics, garnered 18 Grammy Awards, The Presidential Medal of Freedom (the USAâs highest civilian honor), and earned the #1 spot as Rolling Stone Magazineâs list of The Greatest Singers of All Time. The Aretha: The Queen of Soul Cincinnati Tribute stars the immensely talented Charity Lockhart, accompanied by spectacular vocalists and musicians as they celebrate the legendary life & music of Aretha Franklin.
About Aretha Franklin
She is both a 20th and 21st century musical and cultural icon known the world over simply by her first name: Aretha. The reigning and undisputed âQueen Of Soulâ has created an amazing legacy that spans an incredible six decades, from her first recording as a teenage gospel star, to her most recent RCA Records release, ARETHA FRANKLIN SINGS THE GREAT DIVA CLASSICS.
Her many countless classics include â(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,â âChain Of Fools,â âI Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)â; her own compositions âThink,â âDaydreamingâ and âCall Meâ; her definitive versions of âRespectâ and âI Say A Little Prayerâ; and global hits like âFreeway Of Love,â âJump To It,â âI Knew You Were Waiting (For Me),â her worldwide chart-topping duet with George Michael, and âA Rose Is Still A Rose.â
The recipient of the U.S.A.âs highest civilian honor, The Presidential Medal Of Freedom, an eighteen (and counting) GRAMMY Award winner â the most recent of which was for Best Gospel Performance for âNever Gonna Break My Faithâ with Mary J. Blige in 2008 â a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement and GRAMMY Living Legend awardee, Aretha Franklinâs powerful, distinctive gospel-honed vocal style has influenced countless singers across multi-generations, justifiably earning her Rolling Stone magazineâs No. 1 placing on the list of âThe Greatest Singers Of All Time.â
Marking a glorious reunion with music industry legend Clive Davis (Chief Creative Officer for Sony Music Entertainment) â with whom she worked for the longest period of her recording career, twenty-three years at Arista Records (1980-2003) â Aretha continues her time-honored tradition of creating new music that is innovative, vital and fresh. With the 2014 release of ARETHA FRANKLIN SINGS THE GREAT DIVA CLASSICS, Aretha put her indelible stamp on ten songs previously recorded by other female artists â and in her own inimitable way (as she has time and time again), she makes each one her own.
Working with hitmaking producers Clive Davis, Kenny âBabyfaceâ Edmonds, AndrÃ© â3000â Benjamin, Eric Kupper, Harvey Mason Jr. and Chicago DJ/producer Terry Hunter, co-producing and doing all the vocal arrangements for the project, Aretha put her personal and ever-soulful stamp on both contemporary hits and time-honored pop, soul and jazz standards, reimagining certain cuts with the inclusion of cleverly-created musical blends such as âI Will Surviveâ which includes an interlude from Destinyâs Childâs âSurvivorâ and âIâm Every Woman,â featuring her 2014 take on her own timeless anthem, âRespect.â An all-star musical cast on ARETHA FRANKLIN SINGS THE GREAT DIVA CLASSICS includes special guest sax great Kirk Whalum, a longtime friend and musical associate Cissy Houston alongside background vocalists Fonzi Thornton, Tawatha Agee, Vaneese Thomas and Brenda White-King who regularly accompany Aretha in live performances.
The result is simply stunning: introducing her brilliant gospel-fired makeover of Adeleâs âRolling In The Deepâ (with a wonderful musical bridge from the Motown classic, âAinât No Mountain High Enoughâ) on The David Letterman Show, Aretha received an immediate standing ovation and within a week, the track had received over two million views on Vevo.
âMr. Davis came to me with the idea,â says Aretha. âHe suggested some of the artists and songs which included many that I myself enjoyed. We both agreed that there was a whole new generation who may never have heard the original recordings.â
Noting that she is âabsolutely thrilled with the whole CD and very happy with the work I put into it,â Aretha shares her thoughts on the ten tracks that comprise her remarkable 45th album (excluding compilations):
âAT LASTâ (Etta James, 1961) âI met Etta briefly but I didnât know her that well but I remember this song from when I was coming up â itâs one of the great soul tunes of our generation with such a memorable melody.â
âROLLING IN THE DEEPâ (Adele, 2010): âI think Adele is a very fine writer, sheâs a heavy writer. I love the way she says things in a different way. I had to really ponder doing this song: I listened to its lyrics and I thought, âAdele doesnât take any mess, straight up!â We came up with putting in that section from âAinât No Mountain High Enoughâ â which is a fabulous Ashford & Simpson song. Iâve always loved the refrain that Diana Ross did on it.â
âMIDNIGHT TRAIN TO GEORGIAâ (Cissy Houston, 1972; Gladys Knight & The Pips, 1973): âGladys and I came up together when we were both teenagers, performing at places like the Royal Peac*** in Atlanta with artists of the day like Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson and Jesse Belvin. Weâve always had mutual respect and when I recorded this track, I had big fun â I became a âPipâ dancing and moving at the microphone!â
âI WILL SURVIVEâ (Gloria Gaynor, 1978): âA great song and a super performance by Gloria. Although weâve never met, I read Gloriaâs autobiography so I learned more about her and the song which is perfect when one is going through trying times. We added that piece of âSurvivorâ â thatâs my granddaughterâs favorite song and one of mine.â
âPEOPLEâ (Barbra Streisand, 1964): âI first recorded it 1964 myself for an LP when I was at Columbia Records. Barbra and I were budding young artists at Columbia at the same time. We actually never met until a few years ago and she was very gracious. I love the way this new recording came off â it was just natural for me and we did it in two takes.â
âNO ONEâ (Alicia Keys, 2008): âAlicia has some really great contemporary ideas and she suggested to Mr. Davis that we give it a reggae feel and thatâs the first time Iâve ever recorded something like that. I love that she brings an old school flavor to what she does.â
âIâM EVERY WOMANâ/ âRESPECTâ (Chaka Khan, 1978; Whitney Houston, 1992/Aretha Franklin, 1967): âAnother great song from Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson â indicative of how many women feel! Love it. It was the producer (Terry Hunter) who came up with including âRespectâ and why notâ¦.itâs a soul classic!â
âTEACH ME TONIGHTâ (Dinah Washington, 1954): âI chose this song. I remember Dinah came to our house in Detroit when I was just a little kid. I remember peering down the railings at the top of the stairs at her! I met her later on and I heard a lot of her music coming up. I recorded an album in tribute to her in 1964 and Dinah, she could sing period. This song reminds me of when I used to go to the Arcadia roller rink and they would play this âfor couples onlyâ and I had my (nameless) teen crush!â
âYOU KEEP ME HANGINâ ONâ (Diana Ross & The Supremes, 1967): âI told (Motown founder) Berry Gordy Jr., âyou have no idea how much money you owe me!â I used to buy all those Motown records. Iâm not just an artist, Iâm a consumer! Motown was about a mile away from my home in Detroit in the â60s and I knew most of the artists and producers. This is a song I always liked â so well written and produced and on this version, I got to play a little piano.â
âNOTHING COMPARES 2 Uâ (Sinead OâConnor, 1990): âI had a super time working with Andre 3000 â we got right down to business with this track! I originally had a slower interpretation of it in mind but we did a 180-turn around on it and took it uptempo, gave it a refresh. When I heard what he came up with, I went with the feel he had created and it reminded me of my early days when I performed with some of the jazz greats like John Coltrane and Charlie Mingus.â
Celebrating having her 100th R&B-charted single with âRolling In The Deep (The Aretha Version),â making her the first woman and fourth artist in history to have done so, Aretha says, âI recorded it in between doing shows on the road so it was hectic â and Iâm very happy with everything on this project. Working with Mr. Davis again â well, thereâs nothing like it. Weâre a perfect match: heâs very genuine and thereâs mutual respect. Heâs not just another chieftain â he cares. The producers were all great.
Adding another magnificent jewel to her crown and her catalog of timeless music, Aretha expresses the kind of joy usually experienced by first-time recording artists, noting: âIâm truly having a lot of fun and Iâm bowled over by the response to this album. Itâs truly very, very, very exciting!â