Aretha Louise Franklin is an American singer, songwriter and musician. Franklin began her career singing gospel at her father, minister C. L. Franklins church as a child, in 1960, at the age of 18, Franklin embarked on a secular career, recording for Columbia Records but only achieving modest success. Following her signing to Atlantic Records in 1967, Franklin achieved commercial acclaim and success with such as Respect, A Natural Woman. These hits and more helped her to gain the title The Queen of Soul by the end of the 1960s decade, in 1998, Franklin won international acclaim for singing the opera aria Nessun dorma, at the Grammys of that year replacing Luciano Pavarotti. Later that same year, she scored her final Top 40 recording with A Rose Is Still a Rose, Franklin has won a total of 18 Grammy Awards and is one of the best-selling artists of all time, having sold over 75 million records worldwide. Franklin has been honored throughout her career including a 1987 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and she was inducted to the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. In August 2012, Franklin was inducted into the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame, Aretha Louise Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennessee, the daughter of Barbara and Clarence LaVaughn Franklin. Her father, who went by the nickname, C. L. was an itinerant preacher originally from Shelby, Mississippi, while her mother was a piano player. Alongside Franklin, her parents had three children while both C. L. and Barbara had children from outside their marriage. The family relocated to Buffalo, New York when Franklin was two, before her fifth birthday, C. L. Franklin permanently relocated the family to Detroit, Michigan where he took over the pastorship of New Bethel Baptist Church. Franklins mother died on March 7,1952, before Franklins tenth birthday, several women, including Franklins grandmother Rachel, and Mahalia Jackson took turns helping with the children at the Franklin home. During this time, Franklin learned how to play piano by ear, Franklins fathers emotionally driven sermons resulted in him being known as the man with the million-dollar voice and earning thousands of dollars for sermons in various churches across the country. Just after her mothers death, Franklin began singing solos at New Bethel, debuting with the hymn, Jesus, Be a Fence Around Me. Four years later, when Franklin was 14, her father began managing her and he helped his daughter get signed to her first recording deal with J. V. B. Records, where her first album, Songs of Faith, was issued in 1956, two singles were released to gospel radio stations including Never Grow Old and Precious Lord, Take My Hand. Franklin sometimes traveled with The Caravans and The Soul Stirrers during this time and developed a crush on Sam Cooke, after turning 18, Franklin confided to her father that she aspired to follow Sam Cooke to record pop music. Serving as her manager, C. L. agreed to the move and helped to produce a demo that soon was brought to the attention of Columbia Records. Franklin was signed as a five-percent artist, during this period, Franklin would be coached by choreographer Cholly Atkins to prepare for her pop performances
Franklin preparing to perform at the White House in 2015
Franklin performing on April 21, 2007, at the Nokia Theater in Dallas, Texas
Franklin singing at the 2009 inauguration of President Obama
Aretha Franklin and William Wilkerson watching Roger Federer at the 2011 US Open.