*Aretha Franklin is never one to hold back when it comes to how she feels. Especially when it comes to her latest album, “Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics.”
In an interview with The Detroit News, the Queen of Soul weighed in on her new 10-song opus as she praised the choice of songs selected for the album as well as the man who made it happen.
“I absolutely love the CD,” Franklin told the publication. “When Clive (Davis) brought me the list and the concept, I loved it and the songs. I bought many of those records. I probably bought all of them, with the exception of “Rolling in the Deep” and Sinead O’Connor (her take on Prince‘s “Nothing Compares 2 U”), but I enjoyed “Rolling in the Deep,” when the first time I watched Adele‘s promo video, with all those young people on the bus just having one wild time singing it. I said ‘Absolutely, I want to do it, I love that melody.’ ”
Executive produced by Davis, “The Great Diva Classics” debuted in mid-October at No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 200 albums chart. The album, which currently sits at No. 41, marks Franklin’s first major label release since 2003’s “So Damn Happy.”
And while Franklin’s got plenty of love for her album, the same can’t be said for “Respect,” the new unauthorized biography on the music legend written by David Ritz. The author is noted for ghostwriting Franklin’s 1999 memoir “From These Roots” and claims in the forward to his new book that he wasn’t happy with what he felt was left out of “From These Roots.”
The result is “Respect,” which includes claims Ritz makes about Franklin’s “troubled” childhood as well as implications about a “sexual circus” at her father’s church.
“There’s a very trashy, trashy book on the street,” Franklin told the Detroit News. “It’s lies, lies, lies and then more lies,” Franklin says of Ritz’s “Respect.” “I’m talking to a criminal attorney. If this isn’t defamation, I don’t know what would be, although I understand it’s still hard to prove from the celebrity point of view.
“Celebrities give a lot of themselves, of their heart and soul, and time to performance and to charity. Then somebody comes out who blatantly disrespects you and attacks you, and tells a ton of lies,” she continued. “He even had the unmitigated gall to quote my (late) sisters (Erma and Carolyn) and brother Cecil). He has them saying things they never would say. My brother would have knocked him out.”
Ritz countered Franklin’s argument by telling The Detroit News that the legendary singer “had every right to tell her story” while noting in his forward that “all serious students of Aretha must begin with her sense of what is true” in her book.
“I honor her sense even as I challenge it,” Ritz said. “I respect her right to interpret her complex story even as I attempt to reinterpret and expand her interpretation. I meant those words.”
Franklin sheds light on her former collaborator as she detailed what happened with “From These Roots.”
“As for ‘From These Roots:’ I had edit approval and at that time I edited out some of the crazy things (Ritz) wanted to put in my, underscore my, book. Seemingly he has been carrying this hatred for years,’ the singer stated. “If you look at what he’s writing, it goes back a very long, long way. Unbeknownst to me, he’s been carrying these resentments for years about being edited. How much nerve do you have? It’s the downside of celebrity.”
Going back to her new album, Franklin weighed in on the divas of today with no thought of holding her tongue. Here’s the breakdown she gave to the Wall Street Journal, when asked to give her first thoughts on the following vocalists:
The late Whitney Houston: “She had a gift”
Adele: “Young singer. Good singer.”
Alicia Keys: “Young performer. Good writer. Producer.”
Taylor Swift: “Okay…Great gowns. Beautiful gowns.”
Nicki Minaj: “Nicki Minaj…Hmmm…I’m going to pass on that one.”
Looks like Miss Aretha is not impressed with the current crop of divas, despite liking “Rolling In The Deep.” To see Franklin’s Wall Street Journal interview, check out the video below. Franklin’s thoughts on the modern day divas at the 3:50 mark.