The world lost a true legend today. The legendary soul icon Aretha Franklin has passed away at the age of 76. The singer changed the face of music with her daring, empowering jazz and soul fusion. Her influence was so powerful that she still inspires new musicians and producers to this day.
Franklin was in critical condition and "gravely ill" over the last few days, as reported by multiple outlets. Thankfully, it seems she passed peacefully in the company of her family and friends. The singer was active right up until the end, performing on live television and at major events over the last few years of her career. After her last shows, which took place in the summer of 2017, she announced she had plans to retire. Her performance at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2015 was a defining moment for her, with Barack Obama in attendance amongst others.
The soul singer's career began in the 50s, when she began recording pop tunes. Success came in the 60s after signing to Columbia Records, singles including 'One Step Ahead' and 'Cry Like A Baby' bursting onto charts. From there, after signing to Atlantic Records, it was all uphill as Franklin began pushing more and more era-defining tunes out. Her music was defined by its empowering tone for both women and for African-Americans, especially her defining track '(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.' Franklin's music changed the way music was heading, and still makes a powerful impact today.
Rest in peace, Aretha Franklin. She may be gone, but her soul will live on through her music - and all those she will inspire - forever. Gone but never forgotten. Thank you for the music.