DETROIT — Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, and beloved icon of Detroit, said she plans to close out her career where it began, in her beloved hometown.
In an exclusive interview Wednesday, Franklin said she plans to move from her longtime Bloomfield Hills, Mich., home into a residence in the city of Detroit and open a nightclub where she will occasionally sing.
The 75-year-old Franklin, who announced her retirement earlier this year, said she had been talking to officials at Bedrock about the idea for a couple of years — and she has mentioned it in previous news interviews — but she's tired of daydreaming and thinking about it and is ready to move.
"I'm interested in doing a small nightclub downtown, and he (Bruce Schwartz, Detroit relocation ambassador for Bedrock Real Estate Services) and I have been talking about this for a couple of years now and I'm just letting him know I'm still interested," she said. "In my retirement plan, I'd like to have a small club here in Detroit."
The name, she said, is easy.
"It would be Aretha's!"
"From time to time I would sing, and of course, I would have special artists come in to perform for the city that people in Detroit like — Detroit favorites."
Franklin said that while she would love to partner with Bedrock and was "talking to (Schwartz) about the possibility of Dan Gilbert" partnering with her, Franklin said she's willing to listen to other possible investors as well. Schwartz could not be reached for comment.
The move would be a new phase of a 57-year career that has seen Franklin record more than 100 singles that made the Billboard charts, including 17 Top Ten pop singles, 100 R & B singles and 20 No. 1 singles. She had the most Billboard Hot 100 hits of any female artist until Nicki Minaj passed her earlier this year (76 to 73, although the Queen is not done yet). Franklin had held that record for nearly 40 years.
Franklin said the club is part of a retirement plan that includes moving back into the city and finishing her new CD, which will be executive-produced by Clive Davis.
The singer told WDIV-TV in February that the CD — with several tracks produced by Stevie Wonder — was nearly finished and that this would be her last year of doing concerts.
"I will be recording, but this will be my last year in concert. This is it," she told WDIV.
As for the move, she didn't disclose the location of her new residence, which she said was undergoing extensive renovations. But she said she's getting ready for the return to the city where she grew up.
"I'm cleaning house," she said. "I'm going to be moving back into Detroit, and I'm just getting things ready for that. My granddaughter just went to college, so I'm spending time with my grandchildren, and I'm also readying the new CD."
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