Close button
The Guardian
Email YouTube Facebook Instagram Twitter WhatsApp
Everything you need to live well

Six Inspiring Quotes From Legendary Singer Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin, the legendary Queen of Soul, may have passed on, but she lives on in her music and the work she did throughout her illustrious career.

Franklin racked up the music industry’s highest honours, winning 18 Grammys well, including Lifetime Achievement and Legend Awards. In 1987, she became the first woman ever inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The 1990s saw her as a Kennedy Center Honoree and a recipient of the National Medal of Arts. In 2005, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

April 19, 2017. Aretha Franklin performs at the world premiere of “Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives” at Radio City Music Hall, during the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, in New York. Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File


The soul singer famously performed at the inaugurations of former US Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama’s first inauguration in 2009. Speaking to the New Yorker in 2016 on why he thought Franklin’s legacy was timeless, Obama said:

“Nobody embodies more fully the connection between the African American spiritual, the blues, R&B, rock and roll — the way that hardship and sorrow were transformed into something full of beauty and vitality and hope. American history wells up when Aretha sings.

“[She] captures the fullness of the American experience, the view from the bottom as well as the top, the good and the bad, and the possibility of synthesis, reconciliation, transcendence.”

Franklin’s ultimate goal was that emotional connection, whether to a child or the president.

Franklin lives on. Here are six inspiring quotes from her on life, love and music:


Speaking to Time in 2017 on respect and natural women, Franklin said:

“I didn’t think my songs would become anthems for women. But I’m delighted. Women probably immediately feel compassion and relate to the lyrics. We can all learn a little something from each other, so whatever people can take and be inspired by where my music is concerned is great.”


In a prophetic interview with The Guardian over forty years ago, Aretha proclaimed:

“Music changes and I’m gonna change right along with it.”

Aretha Franklin. Photo: USA Today


Speaking in an interview to Elle, Franklin said:

“That makes it all worthwhile, just to know I uplifted another person — I wouldn’t be doing anything else. In terms of helping people understand and know each other a little better, music is universal — universal and transporting.”


While working with Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, Franklin covered an Otis Redding song she liked. Titled Respect, the song rested at the top of both the R&B and pop charts for weeks. When Redding heard Aretha’s take, he famously said, “I just lost my song.” Aretha, speaking on the song, said:

“I was asked what recording of mine I’d put in a time capsule, and it was ‘Respect.’ Because people want respect — even small children, even babies. As people, we deserve respect from one another.”


When Aretha sat down with AARP The Magazine to discuss her weight-loss, album and her new outlook on life, she said:

“Always semi-retire, never retire. Who wants to just sit somewhere? I’m a people person. And I love performing. It’s the way it is and the way it’s going to be.”


Finally, as proof that Aretha Franklin will forever be with us, in our minds and our music players, she said:

“I will always be singing somewhere.”

Receive News Alerts on Whatsapp: +2348136370421