*While promoting her new album “Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics” in an interview for Billboard, Aretha Franklin was asked about the current generation of R&B vocal talent, including two whose songs she covered for the album:
Have you had a chance to spend time with some of the younger artists represented on the record — with Adele or Alicia Keys?
I haven’t had the occasion to meet Adele. She lives in England. So when I’m flying, or when she comes over here, perhaps we’ll have a chance. I think she’s a very fine singer, a very strong writer and performer.
I call Alicia the girl of a thousand faces. Her appearance is always changing, so you never get used to what she looks like. She’s very stylized, but she has recorded some really great things. I especially like that old-school song she has, “You Don’t Know My Name,” and of course that New York song [“Empire State of Mind”]! I’m really glad she wrote that, because from time to time we need a new song for New York, for Detroit, for Chicago. And there really hadn’t been one since Liza Minnelli did “New York, New York,” so that was very timely.
When you listen to those young artists, do you feel like the future of singing is in good hands? And do you hear your own influence in their work?
I think they’re doing a very good job — Beyoncé, Alicia, Jennifer [Hudson]. I hear my influence sometimes; I know when my voice, when something I’m known for, has passed. But these young ladies, for the most part, are all very original.
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