Interview: The Smithsonian is Still Courting Aretha Franklin on the Eve of South Florida Show

Aretha Franklin called New Times before tonight's gig at Hard Rock Live in Hollywood to discuss her forthcoming album (A Woman Falling Out of Love), to tell us to call her "professor" and a little bit about that hat. Yes, that one.

New Times: Do you ever vacation in Florida?

Franklin: I always come in concert, but I have several days off so I can look around. I was going to go fishing, but it looks like a thunderstorm. The season seems to come a little later now. The weather used to be quite wonderful in February, high 80s or 90s. Now it's 60. Things have changed with the melting of the glaciers.

Keep reading after the jump.

What kind of get-ups do you have planned for your show?

I do

not wear

get-ups. I am quite fashionable. I will be fashionable, as always.


hear that A Woman Falling Out of Love was a family affair.

Both of my sons were involved. Eddie is singing an inspirational tune,

"His Eye Is on the Sparrow." He is a vocalist to be reckoned with.

Star Wars' Lando Calrissian, AKA Billy Dee Williams, really

appears on the album?

He's one of my favorite actors. He's got a great voice and was the first

person I thought of for a recitation from the film A Summer Place.

Covering B.B. King's "Sweet Sixteen" is a coup. Are the two of you


I know B.B., and he's a super guy, one of the great all-time blues

singers. It's one of the great songs that I've always enjoyed. I was

looking for some blues. I also I wrote a couple of things, including one

called "I Adore You, Also I Abhor You," about a phase of falling out of


What else do you have planned for the rest of the year?

I'm going to be Professor Franklin. In the fall, I'll be teaching a

vocal class in Detroit -- no more than 20 or 25 students selected by a

special process. Young artists will get individual coaching from me.

So, like
Aretha Franklin's American Idol?

No, it's like "Aretha Franklin's vocal classes for aspiring performers."

I'm excited to hear them. Any type of vocalists should apply, across

the board. I probably will include voice choreography, wardrobe, and


Precious sure got a lot of Oscar buzz this year. Did you catch it?

I went to see it, and it was great. The focus of the film is a young

woman who has problems with an abusive mother, but that's not solely an

African-American problem.

How much do you think about your performance at President Obama's


I'm sure people are still thinking about it all over the world. It was

such a historic moment. I'm still trying to decide if the Smithsonian

will get the hat. Still have it at home, and we'll see. Maybe later this


Aretha Franklin. 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 16, at Hard Rock Live, 1 Seminole

Way, Hollywood. Tickets cost $79 to $129. Click here.

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Reed Fischer
Contact: Reed Fischer