Aretha Franklin to retire after recording album with Stevie Wonder

Soul singer Aretha Franklin has announced she is retiring this year, although she will record one final album with Stevie Wonder before calling time on her music career.

The 74-year-old artist, who has spent more than 50 years in the limelight, said she feels “exuberant” about her plans to work on the album with Stevie before standing down.

Aretha told Detroit TV station WDIV Local 4 host Evrod Cassimy: “I must tell you, I am retiring this year.

Aretha Franklin (Ian West/PA)

“I will be recording, but this will be my last year in concert. This is it.”

Although keen to step away from the industry, Aretha said that she will not “just sit down and do nothing”, and that she hopes to “do some select things” on occasion.

She said: “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.”

Stevie Wonder (David Jensen/PA)

Aretha, dubbed the Queen of Soul, added that she feels “very enriched” when looking back over her illustrious career.

Of her swansong album, which she will release in the autumn of this year, she said: “Of course, several of the songs are going to be produced by Stevie, and of course there’s only one Stevie, right?”

Aretha – and her distinctive, powerful voice – rose to fame in the 1960s after starting out as a gospel singer, going on to achieve massive global success with her memorable soul hits such as Respect, Think and (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.

She has sold more than 75 million records worldwide and has bagged a large number of top industry awards, 18 of which are Grammys, and she was also the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

Her most recent album was 2014′s Aretha Franklin Sings The Great Diva Classics, on which she covered Adele’s Rolling In The Deep.

In recent years, Aretha has suffered from ill health and has been forced to cancel a number of live shows.

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