She is both a 20th and 21st century musical and cultural icon known the world over simply by her first name: Aretha. The reigning and undisputed “Queen Of Soul” has created an amazing legacy that spans an incredible six decades, from her first recording as a teenage gospel star, to her current RCA Records release, Aretha Franklin Sings The Great Diva Classics.
Her many countless classics include “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “Chain Of Fools,” “I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)”; her own compositions “Think,” “Daydreaming” and “Call Me”; her definitive versions of “Respect” and “I Say A Little Prayer”; and global hits like “Freeway Of Love,” “Jump To It,” “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me),” her worldwide chart-topping duet with George Michael, and “A Rose Is Still A Rose.”
The recipient of the U.S.A.’s highest civilian honor, The Presidential Medal Of Freedom, an eighteen (and counting) Grammy Award winner – the most recent of which was for Best Gospel Performance for “Never Gonna Break My Faith” with Mary J. Blige in 2008 - a Grammy Lifetime Achievement and Grammy Living Legend awardee, Aretha Franklin’s powerful, distinctive gospel-honed vocal style has influenced countless singers across multi-generations, justifiably earning her Rolling Stone magazine’s No. 1 placing on the list of “The Greatest Singers Of All Time.”
Tuxedo feat. Mayer Hawthorne and Jake One
Grammy-nominated singer, producer, songwriter, arranger, audio engineer, DJ, and multi-instrumentalist, Mayer Hawthorne takes his stage name from his middle name and the Ann Arbor street he grew up on. In addition to his recordings, his music can be heard on the soundtracks of TV and movies and his myriad of influences include that of his father’s Detroit band.
Derrick Jones, better known by his stage name, is a disc jockey, beatboxer, rapper, producer, and photographer who began his career with the hip-hop group Boogie Down Productions and was discovered by Kid rock in the late 1980s, landing him a deal with Jive Records. His current work includes photography, with album cover credits for Carl Thomas and Pharoahe Monch.
Larry Callahan & Selected of God Choir
When twenty Detroit singers open their mouths and it sounds like there are a hundred, you know you’re listening to Larry Callahan and his Choir. Working together for over ten years, they have put their rich and powerful vocals to work in the service of God and of show business magic, including the unforgettable Superbowl XLV commercial with Eminem
Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels
From Hamtramck to the world, Mitch Ryder’s turbo high-octane sound has created a deep groove and inspired countless other legends including Bob Seger, John Mellencamp, and Bruce Springsteen. Currently blazing a trail through Europe yet again, Mitch and the band return to Detroit with their unmatched style of pure visceral rockin’ R&B.
Soulful vocalist and powerful guitarist with a taste for blues, vintage R&B, jazz and classic rock, Laith Al-Saadi’s influences as an Ann Arbor kid layered his father’s Arabic classical onto his mother’s broad range of musical interests. He won the nation’s hearts and ears with his appearance on ‘The Voice’ last summer, and his current album, ‘REAL’ is staking a claim at the tops of a whole variety of charts
As a country music singer, former member of the US Marine Corps, and finalist in American Idol Gracin has had many singles on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks list. He most recently released an EP title Nothin’ Like Us, Pt. 1 that is available to download on iTunes and streaming on Spotify.
Tribute to Aretha Franklin
The Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts is producing a tribute to Aretha Franklin and they have assembled a super band of performers including guest singers and musicians. Below are some of the fantastic artists that will be participating in the very first Detroit Music Weekend.
Kern is the bassist and musical director for some of the biggest names in music including Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Mary J Blige, Ne-Yo, Destiny’s Child, Chris Brown, and many more. He is an accomplished producer, songwriter, and arranger who credits his Detroit upbringing with electrifying his style.
Detroit native musical director, producer, songwriter, programmer, and arranger, Valdez has most recently toured with Usher and Chris Brown. He has served as musical director for many artists on numerous network television shows, and on concert tours for Mary J. Blige, Sean Combs, Teddy Riley, Keith Sweat, Lil Wayne and other legendary performers.
Oscar-winning Detroit-based musician, producer, and keyboardist Luis Resto began by lending his supple fingers to artists as diverse as Anita Baker, Patti Smith, and Was (Not Was). His ‘best kept secret’ cover was blown in 2001 at the start of a longtime collaboration with Marshall Mathers on The Eminem Show, and he composed music and co-wrote the smash hit single “Lose Yourself”.
Detroit's Queen of the Blues
Detroit’s own blues and rhythm-and-blues superstar, Thornetta entered a local talent contest at the age of 15 and never looked back. She has opened for Bonnie Raitt, Gladys Knight, and Etta James, sung backing vocals for Bob Seger and Kid Rock, and has released two full length solo albums.
Greg is an American keyboardist, singer, songwriter, and musical director based in Los Angeles, California. A prolific session musician, Phillinganes has contributed keyboard tracks to numerous albums representing a broad array of artists and genres. He has toured with notable artists such as Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, David Gilmour and Toto, served as musical director for Michael Jackson, and has released two solo albums.
Saxophonist, pianist, and composer using contemporary and modal themes in alliance with inspiration from Black poets and writers
Ralphe hails from a renowned musical Detroit family and completed his musical studies at Interlochen at the ripe old age of 16, landing a spot with John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra. His list of touring and recording partners, including Aretha Franklin, have made him a home in large global stadiums even as he continues to nurture his hometown roots.
From his current gig with Kid Rock to previous work with Aretha Franklin, Earl Klugh, and Parliament Funkadelic, Larry brings the spirit of Detroit to a wide range of musical collaborators and his name appears on Gold, Platinum, and Grammy award-winning albums. He is currently producing several World Music projects under his label, BAP Records.
Beth is a vocalist who has performed in more than 10 countries around the world including South Africa, Nigeria, London, and has provided background and support vocals to Mary J. Blige, Boyz II Men, Kenny Rogers, and many more. Beth is currently working on her solo CD, touring with Universal-Motown artist KEM, and is part of the crew on Greg Davis Morning Show.
Cherri has worked with Kirk Franklin in The American Bible Challenge singing in the choir and is currently a backing vocalist for the pop artist Katy Perry. Follow her on her various social media platforms to see her latest covers, vlogs, and performances!
A songwriter, producer, musician and vocal coach from Detroit who has worked with artists such as Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker, Wendy Moten, and Oleta Adams.
In her youth she was part of a vocal group comprised of her and her sisters title The Ridgeway Sisters, who provided background vocals for genres including Gospel, Jazz, Blues, Hip Hop, Soul, R&B and more. Gloria has worked with artists such as Aretha Franklin, Mary J Blige, Keith Washington, Nancy Wilson, Ella Fitzgerald, and Barbra Streisand.
As one of the most established sidemen in contemporary American Jazz, Ron renowned for his versatility, improvisation, syncopated rhythms and funky accenting. Otis has worked with and supported artists Aretha Franklin, KEM, Earl Klugh, and Bob James.
A multi-instrumentalist who combines his mastery of the tenor, soprano, and alto saxophones with his additional talents with the flute, keyboards, and percussion. He has toured with Was (Not Was), Bob James, Chuck Loeb and Geri Allen’s electric band as well as worked with additional artists such as Iggy Pop, Nancy Wilson, and Freddie Jackson.
Trumpeter, Bandleader, Composer, Arranger, Educator, and Producer, Walter White is a multi-talented musician. His expressive trumpet playing has led him to collaborate with may of the top names in music including Bob James, Maynard Ferguson, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and has enhanced the sound tracks of records, movies, and television.
One of the leading freelance trombonist is the city of Detroit, he has also held many teaching positions at the university level at facilities such as Albion College, Henry Ford Community College, and Oakland University. John has performed and recorded with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra, and is a founding member of Motor City Horns.
He has worked with Ariana Grande, Ne-yo, Young Jeezy, and recording with Chris Brown.