Aretha Franklin may be retiring from the stage, but not from the recording studio.
The Queen of Soul, who earlier this year revealed she plans to give up touring and live performances, tells us that she's hard at work on a new album she hopes to put out in January, with guest collaborations featuring Stevie Wonder, Elton John (on a version of "Your Song"), Lionel Richie and Yitzhak Perlman:
"Lionel, of course, is still working on his piece and Stevie is working on his piece. I’m working on a couple of things and Yitzhak Perlman is waiting for me to send him the tracks. That's about where we are...Also, Elton John and I are doing. We're gonna do one of his things, one of his older things that I really, really like...(sings), that one. (sings) You know that one? Also, we'll do a performance for him in New York in November."
Franklin also reaffirmed her intention to end her performing career although she has no date in mind yet for a final show:
"It's still in the making and moving in that direction... After 54 years of traveling and flying and all of that -- of course I've been off the plans now for a good little while, but after awhile the bus, depending on my tour bus how far you're going, can be very tiring, and it can also take a lot out of you so this is about it. It's winding down."
Franklin is also developing a line of foods with Krispy Kreme, while next week in her hometown of Detroit she'll have a street, Aretha Franklin Way, named for her on June 8 and will be honored the following night during a gala and concert at Detroit's Music Hall Center.
On June 10 she's performing as the headliner of the inaugural Detroit Music Weekend Festival in downtown Detroit.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.