Aretha Franklin says her new album, “Aretha: A Woman Falling Out of Love,” is “the real deal,” and she has a guest list to back that up. Franklin is joined on the set by gospel greats Shirley Caesar, Karen Clark-Sheard and the rest of Detroit’s Clark Sisters, plus multi-platinum Nashville singer Faith Hill, who Franklin tells Billboard.com “was fabulous, just fabulous. She’s a very nice lady.”
Franklin co-produced the album — which is expected out in the first quarter of 2007 on her own independent Aretha’s Records label — with veteran studio hand Michael Powell (Anita Baker, Patti LaBelle, Aaliyah), who also worked on Franklin’s 1998 set “A Rose is Still a Rose” and 2003’s “So Damn Happy.”
Franklin and Powell wrote songs for “A Woman Falling Out of Love,” along with hitmakers Gordon Chambers and Troy Taylor. The set was recorded in the Detroit area, where Franklin resides, although Hill recorded her parts separately.
“A Woman Falling Out of Love” will come out riding the crest of a Golden Globe nomination for best original song in a motion picture for “Never Gonna Break My Faith,” her duet, co-written by Bryan Adams, with Mary J. Blige for the “Bobby” film soundtrack.
“My agent called me and told me that Miramax Pictures was calling and they wanted me to sing for that [film],” Franklin recalls. “I was just delighted, having met several of the Kennedys on occasion and I also sang at the first memorial service for him. And singing with Mary J. Blige, I think we made a very good coupling.”
Franklin was also be feted at the United Negro College Fund’s “An Evening of Stars,” which was taped in September in Los Angeles for a broadcast that will premiere on Jan. 27 on BET, repeating the following day.