The original diva, Aretha Franklin, will tackle music from other divas on her next album, Clive Davis told Billboard.biz on Thursday.
“[We’re going] to do an album of great diva signature songs and hear that voice, that incredible national treasure voice of all time” sing classic songs, he said while giving interviews about Saturday’s Pre-Grammy Gala and Grammy Salute to Industry Icon honoring Antonio “L.A.” Reid at the Beverly Hilton.
Franklin announced last March that she and Davis, Sony Music’s chief creative officer, were reuniting to work together again, but hadn’t revealed the nature of the project. The two legends first worked together in the ‘80s, when Davis helmed Arista Records, on such hit albums as 1982’s “Jump To It” and 1985’s “Who’s Zoomin’ Who.”
On the new project, which Davis said the pair will start working on “in the next month or two,” Franklin will cover songs made famous by the other great female artists of the last several decades.
Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and Danger Mouse, who recently worked with Norah Jones, will co-produce the album with Davis; it will be released on RCA.
“Whether it’s Billie Holiday or Dinah Washington, whether it’s Whitney Houston, whether it’s Alicia Keys, whether it’s Adele, whether it’s Ella Fitzgerald, we’re going to find the great, great diva songs and put an original arrangement on them and just hear the Queen of Soul go forth,” said Davis, who was honored at Billboard's Power 100 event in Los Angeles Thursday night, said.
She may not have quite the number of years of experience as Franklin, but Jennifer Hudson is also on Davis’s radar. He tells Billboard that he is determined to make her a superstar on her third album.
“I came here from a meeting with Ne-Yo,” he said. “I encourage the great songwriters to know she really is a triple threat. I don’t just want urban adult songs. We want signature hit songs for Jennifer.”