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Aretha Franklin, Queen Of Soul, Dies At 76

Aretha Franklin

Photo: Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

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Aretha Franklin, Queen Of Soul, Dies At 76

The legendary soul singer and 18-time GRAMMY winner made an indelible mark on music

GRAMMYs/Aug 16, 2018 - 08:00 pm

Aretha Franklin, a legendary and deeply influential R&B artist, died on Aug. 16 at age 76. The cause was of advanced pancreatic cancer.

Franklin was the daughter of two gospel singers and began singing and playing piano at a young age. As a teenager she started singing in the choir at the church where her father preached and recorded backup vocals on her father's gospel albums. In 1961, at the age of 18, she was signed to Columbia Records and released her first album, Aretha.

In 1967, just six years after her debut album, she started garnering widespread acclaim and began her reign as the original R&B queen with her hit album I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You. The album included her iconic cover of Otis Redding's "Respect," for which she earned her first No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100, and her first two GRAMMY wins for Best R&B Recording and Best R&B Solo Vocal Performance, Female at the 10th GRAMMY Awards.

Franklin would go on to earn a total of 44 GRAMMY nominations and a historic 18 wins in her lifetime. Her total wins make her one of the most awarded GRAMMY artists of all time. She graced the GRAMMY stage with her legendary soulful sound a total of eight times, putting her in a tie with Whitney Houston as the runner up for the most GRAMMY performances by a female artist.

In addition to her many GRAMMY Awards, she has been honored by The Recording Academy on multiple occasions. Franklin received the GRAMMY Legend Award in 1991, which is presented "to individuals or groups for ongoing contributions and influence in the recording field," and is one of just 15 artists to receive this special award since its inception in 1990. She was also honored by the Academy with the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994. On top of that, five of her recordings have been inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame: "Respect," "Chain Of Fools," "Amazing Grace," "A Natural Woman (You Make Me Feel Like)," and "I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You." 

Not only did Franklin make monumental contributions to the music world during her lifetime, she also helped make the world a better place outside of the music she made. She supported several charities and advocacy organizations including the NAACP, the Special Olympics, Feeding America, The Rainforest Foundation, and the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes. In 2005 President Clinton awarded her with The Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the U.S. The Recording Academy also acknowledged her huge positive impact on the world, honoring her as the 2008 MusiCares Person of the Year.

Franklin and her prolific musical career have had a far-reaching influence on musicians over the years and across genres, with many offering their condolences for the Queen of Soul. Following a hospitalization in 2010, the 53rd GRAMMY Awards featured special performances as part of an Aretha Franklin Tribute, with artists such as fellow GRAMMY-winners Jennifer Hudson and Christina Aguilera covering her hits to honor the legend.

Franklin was truly influential throughout her life, most recently celebrating her 100th chart-topping single with her cover of Adele's "Rolling In The Deep." With the release of the single in 2014, she became the first female artist to place 100 career titles on the Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, and remains in the lead, tied with Stevie Wonder and ahead of Drake, for the most No. 1 singles on the chart with 20 total.

"Aretha Franklin was an incomparable artist who came to be recognized as one of the most profound voices in music," said Neil Portnow, President and CEO of the Recording Academy. "Her distinctive sound, unforgettable recordings, and giving spirit will continue to be celebrated worldwide. Aretha will be dearly missed, and our thoughts go out to her loved ones during this difficult time."  

Thanks to her long, outstanding career and her deep impact in the soul, R&B, and pop music worlds, Franklin leaves a legacy that will continue to inspire artists for generations to come. 

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Allen Hughes' "The Defiant Ones" Wins Best Music Film | 2018 GRAMMY

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Allen Hughes' "The Defiant Ones" Wins Best Music Film | 2018 GRAMMY

Director Allen Hughes' four-part documentary takes home Best Music Film honors for its portrayal of the unlikely partnership that changed the music business

GRAMMYs/Jan 29, 2018 - 02:09 am

The team behind The Defiant Ones celebrated a big win for Best Music Film at the 60th GRAMMY Awards. The crew awarded include director Allen Hughes and producers Sarah Anthony, Fritzi Horstman, Broderick Johnson, Gene Kirkwood, Andrew Kosove, Laura Lancaster, Michael Lombardo, Jerry Longarzo, Doug Pray & Steven Williams.

In a year rife with quality music documentaries and series, the bar has been set high for this dynamic category. The Defiant Ones is a four-part HBO documentary telling the story of an unlikely duo taking the music business by storm seems better suited for fantastical pages of a comic book, but for engineer-turned-mogul Jimmy Iovine and super-producer Dr. Dre, it's all truth.The Defiant Ones recounts their histories, their tribulations and their wild success. These include first-hand accounts from those who were there in Iovine's early days, such as Bruce Springsteen and U2's Bono, as well as those on board when Dre and Iovine joined forces, such as Snoop Dogg and Eminem.

The competition was stiff as the category was filled with compelling films such as One More Time With Feeling, Two Trains Runnin', Soundbreaking, and Long Strange Trip. 

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Portugal. The Man To Aida Cuevas: Backstage At The 2018 GRAMMYs

Photos: WireImage.com

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Portugal. The Man To Aida Cuevas: Backstage At The 2018 GRAMMYs

Also see James Fauntleroy, Reba McIntire, Latroit, and more after they stepped off the GRAMMY stage

GRAMMYs/Jan 29, 2018 - 05:39 am

What do artists do the moment they walk off the GRAMMY stage from presenting, accepting an award or performing? Now, you can find out.

Take a peak at Album Of The Year GRAMMY winner Bruno Mars, 60th GRAMMY Awards Host James Cordon, Cardi B minutes before her electrifying performance of "Finesse," and more!

Also see Best Pop Duo/Group Performance GRAMMY winners Portugal. The Man posing with their first career GRAMMY Award, Best Roots Gospel Album GRAMMY winner Reba McIntire right after she walked offstage, Best R&B Song GRAMMY winner James Fauntleroy, Best Remixed Recording GRAMMY winner Latroit, and many more, with these photos from backstage during the 60th GRAMMY Awards.

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Bruno Mars Wins Song Of The Year | 2018 GRAMMYs

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Bruno Mars Wins Song Of The Year | 2018 GRAMMYs

The Hawaiian native takes home Song Of The Year for "That's What I Like" at the 60th GRAMMY Awards

GRAMMYs/Jan 29, 2018 - 08:11 am

Feeling the 24K Magic, Bruno Mars' successful progress through the categories he's been nominated in at the 60th GRAMMY Awards picked up another one at Song Of The Year for "That's What I Like."


Christopher Brody Brown and Philip Lawrence co-write with Mars under the name Shampoo Press & Curl. The other winning songwriters for Mars' hit tonight in this category are James Fauntleroy and production team "The Sterotypes" — Ray Charles McCullough II, Jeremy Reeves, Ray Romulus and  Jonathan Yip.

For additional "Finesse" on stage at the 60th GRAMMY Awards, Mars was joined by Cardi B for a reprise of their 148-million-views hit remix.

The Album Of The Year GRAMMY Award wrapped up the night and wrapped up Bruno Mars' complete rampage through his six nominated categories — now six wins.

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Mariah Carey Tells Fans Fire Music Is Coming With New Album 'Caution'

Mariah Carey

Photo: David Crotty/Getty Images

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Mariah Carey Tells Fans Fire Music Is Coming With New Album 'Caution'

The sultry R&B/pop superstar has announced she will release her 15th studio album next month – what will she bring us this time around?

GRAMMYs/Oct 17, 2018 - 05:39 am

Never one to do things quietly, the GRAMMY-winning R&B/pop diva with the angelic voice Mariah Carey came boldly onto the scene in 1990 with her GRAMMY-nominated debut self-titled album. At the 33rd GRAMMY Awards she took home her first two wins: Best New Artist and for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female for "Vision Of Love," which she performed on the GRAMMY stage. The song was the album's first single and Carey's first No. 1 song. Since taking center stage at the beginning of the '90s the star hasn't looked back, releasing 13 studio albums and plenty of hits over the years. Four years after the release of her last album, she has announced that her next one is a month away. What will she serve up on her 15th LP?

The star recently shared on Twitter that her latest album is called Caution and will be released on Nov. 16, 2018. We first got a hint of a new album on Sept. 13 when she announced an album was in the works and released the lead single, "GTFO." The album's second single, "With You," followed on Oct. 4.

On "GTFO" she confidently asks a soon-to-be-ex lover "How 'bout you get the f*** out?" in breathy vocals over a slow, melodic beat by GRAMMY-winning producer Nineteen85. "With You" feels like a classic Carey R&B love song with her angelic vocals backed by snapping and a melodic slow jam groove produced by hip-hop beat maker DJ Mustard, who lets her voice shine on an uncharacteristically mellow track for him. These songs hint that her latest release will give us songs that not only showcase her incredible vocal range and versatility, but also give us both nostalgia-inducing tracks as well as radio-ready hits.

"GTFO" gives us a taste of some of the new flavor that she is bringing to her new album, singing the song's coy lyrics completely in more-understated breathy vocals without belting any big high notes, not even during the chorus. It's a catchy, playful breakup song, as she confidently sings "get the f*** out/how 'bout you take your tings and be on your merry way?/Fly off with the wind, bye bye baby/How 'bout you scusami, Mimi'll call you a valet."

The song was co-written and co-produced by Jeff Jefferies aka Nineteen85, who is half of OVO R&B duo dvsn and is responsible for producing some of Drake's biggest hits, including the GRAMMY-winning mega-hit "Hotline Bling." On the Drake's song "Emotionless" from his latest album, Scorpion, he samples Carey's lyrics from remixed classic hit "Emotions." Hopefully Jefferies has some catchy hits up his sleeve for Carey, and maybe even brings in some OVO artist surprises.

Carey has released some great collabs over the years, a majority with R&B and hip-hop artists, including Boyz II Men on heartfelt slow jam "One Sweet Day" from 1995's Daydream and Jay-Z on the upbeat classic belter "Heartbreaker" from 1999's Rainbow. We can only hope that the new album will offer some new, soon-to-be-classic hits with some of our other favorite artists.

Her most recent album, Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse, released in 2014, had more collab tracks than usual for her, which could perhaps point towards some hot features on Caution. The deluxe edition of the 2014 album had six songs with other artists, including rappers Nas, Fabolous, Wale and R. Kelly as well as R&B singers Miguel and Mary J. Blige. The  album's lead single, "Beautiful," has Miguel and Carey singing a soulful, feel-good duet, while "Dedicated" features a bounce-y, electronic-infused hip-hop beat with a verse from Nas. Seeing that she worked with big-time hip-hop producers on the new album's lead singles, we can only hope that they not only offered their production genus to more of the tracks, but perhaps brought some of their friends into the studio as well.

Fans only have to wait a month for the full dose of new music from Carey, but until then we will send our prayers to the music gods that the album will feature all of our dream collabs, perhaps some old and new friends, and offer up some new favorite songs, with some to slow dance to and others to belt out in the shower.

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