The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, is one of the most iconic, greatest vocalists of all-time. Her music continues to pave the way for so many artists.
Franklin not only inspired people with her incredible and powerful voice, but she also gave important advice. Whether Franklin sings, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “Amazing Grace,” “I Say A Little Prayer,” “A Rose Is Still A Rose,” or “Ain’t No Way,” there is always a pivotal message to follow.
Franklin remains a trailblazer who will never be forgotten. I often wish that I got the opportunity to talk with Franklin or ask her a few questions. And I often imagine what that would have been like…
Jennifer Dixon: At what age did you start singing and when did you realize that your voice was special?
Aretha Franklin: I began singing at a very young age at my father C.L. Franklin’s church. I recorded my first album, Songs of Faith at just 14 years old. I realized that my voice was a special, around 10 or 11. I often say, “Being a singer is a natural gift. It means I’m using to the highest degree possible the gift that God gave me to use. I’m happy with that.”
JD: How does it feel to know that so many artists such as Whitney Houston, Beyonce, Faith Hill, Fantasia are inspired by what you, your music, and what you have given to the industry?
AF: I truly appreciate it all the love. It means a lot to me—but there have been some dynamic singers who paved the way for me such as Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan… just to name a few.
JD: What advice would you give to up & coming artists who are trying to break into the music industry?
AF: Be your own artist, and always be confident in what you’re doing. If you’re not going to be confident, you might as well not be doing it. When artists are creative, they are not only raising the bar, but setting themselves apart from others.
If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.