Aretha Franklin, the American music icon, celebrated her birthday at an exclusive party held at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in New York. The Queen of Soul will be 72 on Tuesday March 25, but the party, attended by a number of high-profile celebrities was held on Saturday March 22. In attendance were Oscar-winning actor, Denzel Washington, who is currently performing on Broadway in the play A Raisin in the Sun, and record-company executive Clive Davis, with whom Aretha Franklin has worked for a very long time.
In a recently held interview, Aretha said that she is currently working on new music with record producer and songwriter Kenneth Babyface Edmonds, and rapper Andre 3000. There has been no date set for any new releases, as Babyface is currently working on Broadway. He stars opposite Tony Braxton in the musical called After Midnight, which is a tribute to Duke Ellington and his music depicted at the celebrated nightclub in Harlem, known as the Cotton Club.
The show actually opened in November, and has featured a number of celebrated performers,including Fantasia Barrino, who is in her second stint as a guest performer.
After Midnight evokes memories of the Jazz Age at venues such as the Cotton Club, which was extremely popular in the 1920s. Featuring a first-rate cast of performers along with a handpicked orchestra, called the All-Stars Orchestra, the music is directed by trumpet maestro, Wynton Marsilis, while the choreography is directed by Warren Carlyle. Many of the original Duke Ellington arrangements are performed onstage by the big band.
Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and Toni Braxton are expected to continue appearing up to the end of March 30, and Aretha who celebrated her 72nd birthday, says she is waiting on him to finish, so that he can complete the tracks to be included in her new release. She also says that Andre 3000 is also collaborating with Edmonds on a few of the recordings.
The music icon and Hall-of-Famer, who has won numerous accolades, including being voted as one of the best vocalists ever, recently performed at the White House, where President Barack Obama and the first lady held the 12th series in the program of Performances at the White House. The performance, entitled the women of Soul, featured Patti Labelle, Melissa Etheridge, Jill Scott, Janelle Monáe, Tessanne Chin, and Ariana Grande, in addition to the legend Franklin.
The attendees were left mesmerized by many of the performances, including that of Aretha Franklin, who received a standing ovation for one of her classic hits: I Never Loved a Man, and her rendition of Amazing Grace brought church to the White House, as tears came to the eyes of even a few performers. Fans can view the recording of Women of Soul , when it is broadcast on PBS on April 7, during the concert series.
For her birthday wishes, Aretha says she is hoping for a record deal for her son Kecalf, and granddaughter Victorie. They both performed at the Black Entertainment Television special, where special tribute was paid to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, who recently celebrated her 72nd birthday.
Written By Dale Davidson