Soul diva creates diskery for more creative control

NEW YORK — After recording for major labels for more than 45 years, the Queen of Soul is going into the record business.

Aretha Franklin has lined up at least two financiers to back Aretha’s Records, and she intends to finalize the deal in her hometown of Detroit after performing at L.A.’s Greek Theater Sept. 17-18.

“When you’re signed to a major label, you always have to give up some creative control,” Franklin told Daily Variety. “I’m fortunate that (on my next record) that Mr. (Clive) Davis and I equally share the creative. With Aretha’s Records, I will have 100% of creative control.”

Her next record will be a collection of duets to be released by the new Sony BMG conglom. The bulk of the album will be Franklin dueting with other stars on her classic material; she plans to record three new tunes for the album as well.

Franklin declined to give any other details, such as the names of songs or performers. “Surprises are always better,” she said.

Davis reignited the recording career of Carlos Santana with an album of duets; Frank Sinatra, John Lee Hooker and Jimmy Buffett are among others who revived interest in their records by going the duet route.

BMG’s Arista released her last album, “So Damn Happy,” in September.

Once Aretha’s Records gets started, the singer known for “Chain of Fools,” “Respect” and other soul classics said she will “sing what I feel is the hottest and the best.”

Label is being set up for her albums, though if her sons, Teddy and Kelf, have not inked deals by the time Aretha’s Records is set up, she may offer to release their discs, too.

But all that newfound desire to record more often doesn’t mean Franklin will tour more. Next year she plans to cut back perfs to two or three a month from as many as five. Her gigs at the Greek are her first in Los Angeles in 21 years.

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