In an interview back in March, Aretha Franklin revealed that she had recruited André 3000 (or as she called him, “André 2000”) to write and contribute to her forthcoming album. While details of the album were originally scarce, Franklin has since revealed to Billboard that her latest LP is set to be a covers album due out sometime in September.
As Franklin explains, she was originally working with the trio of Don Was, Babyface, and Daryl Simmons. However, since Was recently bowed out due to scheduling conflicts, André 3000 is stepping in to help finish the final four songs. “I’m pretty sure it’s going to be fun working with (Andre 3000), just watching his videos and things,” Franklin said. “It should be fun. And, of course, they all come with great music, so I expect that.”
Franklin said she’s already completed five songs, with a sixth “in progress,” in addition to the four remaining with André 3000. If that seems like a lot of work left in order to make that September release date, Franklin is hardly phased. “Well, (executive producer) Clive (Davis) is concerned, but we’re on it,” she said. “We are on it.”
Thus far, Franklin has already recorded versions of Gladys Knight & the Pips’ “Midnight Train to Georgia”, Barbra Streisand’s “People”, Donna Summer’s “Last Dance”, and Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It”. She’s currently fine-tuning a rendition of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”.
While Davis picked most of the covers, Franklin admits that she “approved or didn’t approve, so it’s just an easy CD to do because I liked all of them.” As to what we can expect from the Queen of Soul, she promises to do each and every song “justice,” adding, “People are different, you know? What they did is not what I’m going to do, and what I’m gonna do is not what they did. That’s just what makes it different. You won’t be disappointed; we’re going to give you exactly what you’re expecting and what you’re not expecting.”
In related news, Franklin revealed that she’s also currently involved in developing her own biopic, adding that her team is “very, very close to signatures on one agreement.” So, who does Franklin think should play her? Either Jennifer Hudson or Tony Award winner Audra McDonald.
Not only does André 3000 have quite a bit of work ahead of him with Franklin, but he’s get plenty of dates left with the Outkast reunion. That schedule includes festival appearances at Lollapalooza, Osheaga, Treasure Island, the BET Experience, and more. Plus, a trio of homecoming dates in September. Consult the full schedule here.
Below, watch Franklin tackle the opera classic “Nessun Dorma” at the 1998 Grammys: