Houston Entertainment Industry Bids Farewell to Queen Aretha Louise Franklin
Former Sr. VP Marketing of Motown Records
Aretha Franklin yet reigns as the Queen Mother of Soul. Not even what we poetically refer to as the “final curtain” will silence her voice or diminish her stature. In every notable area of the music industry she is revered and loved by her peers, disco jockeys, executives, critics, and fans of every genre. For me, it was Aretha’s voice in 1968 that brought hope, warmth, and beauty to the anxious dark hours of a lonely soldier in Quang Tri and Dong Ha, Vietnam. It was the gift of life. Hail to the Queen, as she meets Her King!
“As a kid, my dad played the same two artists over and over, Marvin Gaye and Aretha Franklin. I had no choice but to be influenced musically by this woman. She is known as the Queen of Soul for a reason. Her voice and her presentation of her songs was always amazing. She will be sorely missed in the musical community as well as the rest of the world. She, along with a few other legends, indirectly paved a way for me musically by overcoming the prejudices of their time to make their dreams come true. I will always appreciate her contribution to music. Rest well, Ms. Aretha.”
“My mother grew up listening to Aretha Franklin and so did I. She played her music quite often. I was always amazed and influenced by her vocal ability; the emotion that she conveyed. I’ve been inspired ever since.”
Recording Artist/Vocal and Performance Coach
The name Aretha Franklin, to me, has always been synonymous with singing, music, girl power, clarity when performing a song, civil rights, etc. I’ve heard her songs all of my life, during her prime, professionally. There is and will never be, anyone like her. THE QUEEN OF SOUL. I always strived to sing/perform in the way that she made me feel when I heard her music. I believed the lyrics/story, the way she moved the notes and melody when she sang. As a vocal and performance coach, no matter what genre of music you sing, if people can’t feel anything when you sing, you’ve got a lot of work to do. Aretha made you feel whatever she sang about! As a child during the civil rights movement, it was her songs that were played during the marches and meetings that my parents had in our home. I feel as though her music is also the voice of women who struggle to be heard. R.I.P. ARETHA FRANKLIN… You are loved forever, never forgotten. Much R.E.S.P.E.C.T.
Grammy-Nominated Recording Artist
I’ve enjoyed the musicianship of Aretha Franklin since attending HSPVA and performing her classic song “Dr. Feelgood.” Then, in 2005 while working with Prince, I found out one of his favorite songs was “Never Loved a Man.” Prince loved it so much that I performed it on the 2005 NAACP Image Awards. After studying Aretha, I’ve never not felt the power of her artistry since. God, what an anointing.
Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul was an amazing and astounding artist, musician and entertainer. Her music influenced me since I was a young girl aspiring to become a musician.
Her music inspired me to include her song, “Natural Woman” on my 4th album Live2love. I will forever celebrate the life and legacy of Aretha Franklin and share her life with my students!
Rest in Power!
As a producer/musician, being a student is important. What started out as me watching the ending credits to Sister Act 2, turned into me learning about a woman who would be one of the most important voices in music history. Aretha Franklin is one of the main reasons “timeless music” is constantly used in my vocabulary. Not conforming to what others want but staying true to the soul and relaying that through music is what made her a genius. Everyone from Fantasia to Beyoncé and even artists right here in Houston such as Liz Vaughn and Lenora all have that signature “soul” feeling when singing. No matter the song, you’re going to feel what they’re singing. Not only did Aretha inspire truth but she’s the blueprint for what many call “singing from the depths!” A true trailblazer and she will truly be missed.
Growing up, watching Aretha sing and play piano, and do both so masterfully, made me want to learn to do the same. She was not just a singer who went along with what producers wanted her to do, she was a musician who brought her own creativity and flair to every song she sang, no matter who wrote it. Also, her involvement in the civil rights movement showed that artists do have the power and influence to effect change in their community if they choose to. She was a Black woman first, and an artist second.
Aretha’s music set a standard for me and other artists to be true to the music and the story we tell while challenging us to sing with power, passion and heart. She’s touched our lives using her voice in ways that we can relate to. Rest Well, Queen!
Aretha has been my inspiration since the first time I heard her sing Amazing Grace. The effortless melodic sound that flowed from this woman sent chills down my spine. I knew right then, I wanted to reach people the way she did. The memory of her greatness will forever impact my life as well as others who admired her craft.
Aretha definitely helped with the forward movement of Black women in music. A lot of people talk about her vocals which were absolutely perfect but she played the piano at an exceptional level as well. If it wasn’t for Aretha, there would be tons of pages missing out of the book of Black music.
She was so soulful; the essence of Soul music and her voice was so sultry but forceful. So Black, I love it.
DJ/ Co-Founder of freshDark Fest
Aretha Franklin allowed her artistic offering to expose the timeless truths that have affected human life, and given morality on how to deal in those situations. Whether it be a demand for proper treatment, encouragement to freely express yourself in the moment, or the announcement of feelings/emotions that can be difficult to release, her music has always offered healing.
Entrepreneur/ DNTS Motown & More Revue Co-Producer
Mourning Aretha Franklin over the last few days has been quite an ambivalent feeling. On the one hand, she is the undisputed Queen of Soul that any entertainer should study and revere. But on the other, she is ReRe, so relatable and human. Our sister-friend or “auntie”, to younger generations. One who tells it like it is, and puts feelings to words in ways we could never articulate for ourselves.
As the daughter of two of the founding producers of Dancin’ in the Street… Motown & More Revue, Clarence and Shirley Whitmore, I grew up listening to and studying soul music. I can remember being so moved by Aretha Franklin without even fully understanding the dynamic of love. She made me not only want to know love, but heartbreak as well. Just to be able to feel a fraction of what she poured into every lyric.
Legendary Houston radio on-air personality
Aretha Franklin was more than the Queen of Soul! She’s the greatest female vocalist of all time! When she sang, you felt it deep in your soul and spirit. Also, nobody could do to a song what she did! Who thinks of Otis Redding when they talk about the song “Respect” that he wrote and recorded first? How about “Say a Little Prayer” when Dionne Warwick did it first? Do you think of Don Covay on the song “See Saw,” or do you think of the Queen? There are countless others, too numerous to mention. Aretha Franklin was royalty! Artists like her only come along once in a lifetime! She will truly be missed!
Azania Whitmore Eaton
Entrepreneur/ DNTS Motown & More Revue Co-Producer
Aretha Franklin’s sound was classic, timeless, effortless and undeniable. Her reign, supreme! Her commitment to not only her craft, but to her people as well, should be the blueprint to artists everywhere. She was the absolute example of responsible use of a platform. She blessed stages across the world while remembering, fighting for and representing, Black excellence, Black sound and Black people. Long live the queen!!
I think back to when I was like in middle school…seeing that beautiful pink Cadillac on MTV was like ‘WOW!’ Aretha was so smooth and poised every time I saw her on television; so dignified and beautiful.
People have their ideas about what soul is and that’s cool, but she personifies soul music and all its colors. The tone she had was so raspy and sultry…just takes you to church with that good ole Sunday morning feeling.
A person that can take a song and spell out a word as a hook and have the world over singing it, is an icon. I’m really partial to Aretha because she played my instrument, piano.
There’s something magical about the combination of singing and playing…she’d be in her own world taking us on the journey with her.
Another pillar in the music business has transitioned…what a loss for the music community and world. There will never be another Queen of Soul…
Rest WELL in God Aretha…
We lost a singing time capsule. She was able to sing at Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral and at the first Black President’s inauguration. She broke barriers for artists today.
Aretha Franklin made musicians like me and others understand style and feel through the execution of her music. Her voice and presence was an anchor that has remained in our everyday journeys as musicians. She left a large, memorable mark on so many songs and wrote just as many that were all her own. She is the queen of soul and song as every passage of phrase from her voice was as unique as the times she so well encapsulated.