*During a celebration for her 70th birthday on Saturday, Aretha Franklin announced she is working on a new album with one of her musical mentors, Clive Davis, reports the AP.
Franklin said she and Davis, who helped orchestrate her successful 1980s run, will be working on new music. “I have re-signed with Clive Davis, so I’m recording with Clive again,” said Franklin of the music mogul, who is associated with Sony Music Entertainment. Franklin said that after Davis’ birthday next month, “we’re going to sit together and decide what it is we’re going to record.”
According to the AP, Davis sat next to Franklin for most of her birthday party at the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel, which included a sit-down dinner, a dance performance and a mini-concert that featured rising jazz pianist Kris Bowers. Also in the building were Diane Sawyer, Rev. Al Sharpton and Willie Wilkerson, Franklin’s longtime companion and briefly this year her fiancé. Wilkerson stood by Franklin’s side as she cut her three-tier, lime-green birthday cake while the crowd serenaded her with Stevie Wonder’s version of “Happy Birthday.”
When asked whether marriage might once again be in her future, the Queen of Soul simply said: “We’ll see what happens.”
As far as future work-related plans, she was looking forward to performances in California and said she was helping negotiate a record contract for her grandson. Her planned biopic is on hold. “It’s in a limbo position,” she said. “It’s just a lot going on.”
Franklin remained on the scene long after the party’s designated end time. At one point, she joked that she was turning back the hands of time. “I was wondering, `What is it going to be like to be 50?’ I can tell you now it feels like 40,” she said as the crowd laughed.
She then made reference to the film “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” about a man who gets younger as he ages. “So remember Benjamin Buttons?” she said. “Ree Ree Buttons!”