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Aretha Franklin recruits Lionel Richie and Stevie Wonder to appear on new album


L-R: Aretha Franklin & Stevie Wonder; KMazur/WireImageAccording to Billboard, Aretha Franklin is not only hard at work developing a line of food with Krispy Kreme, working on a biopic and possibly opening both a museum and a nightclub/restaurant in her Detroit hometown, but the legendary singer is also working on a new album. 

The Queen of Soul tells Billboard that a number of fellow music icons — Lionel Richie and Stevie Wonder, as well as Elton John — will appear on the album. 

She says, “Lionel’s working on his piece, Stevie’s working on his piece; they’re both original [songs]. I’m working on a couple of things. I think there will be about 10 [songs] on it, maybe 11, but I’m thinking 10.”

This will be Aretha’s first album to feature new original material since 2011. Her last studio album, 2014’s Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics, was a collection of cover versions. 

Franklin also explains that while she has no plans to retire from performing just yet, she’s indeed “winding down,” adding, “After 54 years…traveling and flying and all of that can be very tiring, and even the tour bus takes a lot out of you.”

“I’m not happy, exactly, about not doing something that you’ve been doing for 54 years that you really, really love,” she says. “But there’s a warranty on everything. Nothing lasts forever.” 

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