Great women involved in music who are of minority origin still exist and have existed for a long time in the history of music. One such lady that has had a profound effect in music is Aretha Louise Franklin. She is an African American songwriter, singer and an accomplished soul singer of all times.
Although she has been crowned as the ‘Queen of Soul’, her music prowess is not limited to soul but to also other genres such as gospel, rock n’ roll and jazz. Born in 1942 in Memphis, Tennessee, her music career started early in her local church which happened to be her father’s ministering church. At the tender age of 14 years, she recorded her first album as a result of her talent in vocals and playing the piano in the church choir (Artist Bio).
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Aretha was discovered in church and therefore her early songs were gospels which led her to fuse R&B with soul into gospel music. Her contribution to gospel was most significant with her using her prominence in music to collaborate with other musicians that were also prominent in recording various hits and singles. Some of the musicians that she did numbers with included Steve Wonder and Luther Vendross who on their parts were also accomplished musicians.
The music they produced together was not necessarily gospel but it was inspirational which acted and still acts as morale booster for people generally. Her love for gospel music can be seen when she renovated old movie theaters in Philadelphia and built churches (New Bethel Baptist church).
Franklin career was also adorned with music composition which is a hallmark of talent and achievement in music. Her major composition was in 1967 in the album Timeless which went on to sell million of copies world wide and added a feather to her cap.
During the recording of this self composed album, she did the vocals and the piano as well. In her formative years, Franklin was viewed as an icon of black agenda advancement that often used her talent and skills to press for civil rights which she did by performing in political and social gatherings.
To make impact in the music industry, saw her switch through different genres of music but finally came back to inspirational cum gospel music from where she had started (Artist Bio).
Her most recognizable award is 1987 indictment into Rock and Roll halls of fame as the first woman . This marked her entrance into greatness and a lot was to come including the 2005 Presidential Medal of Freedom which she was awarded by President Bush.
This was due to her lifelong career of inspirational music to the young. Her accolades did not stop there but the next incoming president of the US Barrack Obama invited her to perform during his inauguration ceremony.
These two events are enough to show how great this lady was because of the recognition from two presidents who are of different political affiliations but are able to see the greatness in her. Her career is seen as one of giving whereby most of the renowned R & B singers like Whitney Houston regard her as their mentors and she helped shape the landscape for them.
Right now Franklin has left the recording label Arista which she had been with for the last twenty three years and has moved to her own company by the name Aretha records.
This is the culmination of her lifelong dreams where she hopes to produce music for upcoming talents and also coach them in their vocals ability. It must be noted that in her long illustrious career, she has endeavored to bring together performing artists especially those of minority races by making various recording of songs together.
This shows the selflessness in her of seeking to unite people through music which is a powerful tool that fosters a culture of empowering and uniting people.
Her other achievement and contribution to music was through films where she participated in various documentaries like immaculate funk and Tom Dowd and the language of music which are about music. These documentaries are inspirational to young and upcoming artists so to overcome the odds and achieve just like Franklin did although she was from a minority race and a woman for that matter.
The life and achievements of Aretha Franklin are simply great despite the many ups and downs that she has faced in life like any normal human being. 18 Grammy Awards is just but the tangible evidence to show how much she has achieved in this industry. Besides composing and singing hit singles and albums, she has been a source of inspiration for many youngsters especially from the African American community where she has her roots.
The starting of her recording outfit is a major step towards helping and training upcoming artists in US to realize and live their dreams. Her performance during the inauguration of president Obama remains to be her most honored and treasured moments in her magnificent career.
‘Artist Bio.’Aretha Franklin. March 2009. 16 June. 2009.
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