The daughter of a preacher and a gospel singer, Aretha Franklin's parents had a rocky marriage from the get-go, separating when she was six. Her mother passed away from a heart attack just before she hit 10, and Franklin became a mother herself by age 14, the same year she signed her first record deal, releasing her debut album, Songs of Faith, aka The Gospel Soul of Aretha Franklin, in 1956. Add in an abusive marriage with Ted White kicked off by the time she was 19, Franklin eventually found herself referred to as "the lady of mysterious sorrows," if only by Atlantic Records' Jerry Wexler, the music producer who first coined the term “rhythm and blues.” It was while she was still married to White, during her time with Wexler that R&B's original diva recorded 14 albums of music history with timeless singles such as "Respect," “Chain of Fools” and “Think.”
In spite of the above, Franklin has stayed fairly mum over her past, and rarely grants interviews. She also rarely takes to the stage these days, having last graced the Montreal Jazz Festival five years ago, which was also her first appearance at the fest.
Aretha Franklin performs at the 2013 Montreal Jazz Festival on June 29, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. at Place des Arts' Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier. Admission $101.49 to $152.50. Buy tickets.
May 2013 UPDATE: due to health concerns, Aretha Franklin has unfortunately cancelled her appearance at the 2013 Montreal Jazz Festival.