How Aretha Franklin’s Father ‘Grounded’ the Soul Singer After She Got a Taste of Stardom

Aretha Franklin will always be remembered as the uncontested Queen of Soul. From “Respect” and “A Natural Woman” to “Don’t Play That Song” and “Think,” the legendary diva snagged 18 Grammy wins and 44 nominations throughout her decade-spanning career. And, with just enough sass and style to bring a playful flair to her public reputation, her loveable personality sealed the deal. 

Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin | Kevin Winter / Staff

Back in the day, when Franklin first got a taste of stardom, she admitted to letting it get to her head. Her father quickly reminded her that her growing career did not excuse her from certain tasks. 

During an interview with CBCMusic back in the day, Franklin discussed her first trip to New York to take vocal lessons and choreography classes. When she returned to her family in Detroit, she thought she had risen above “mundane” chores.

Aretha Franklin has “not been a star since” her father grounded her early in her career 

Franklin explained to CBC’s Laurie Brown what it was like to get a taste of the musical career that would define her life. She also noted how she responded to it as a teenager upon returning home. She shared: 

“I didn’t think I was supposed to do housework anymore, I’m a star now.”

Franklin | CBCMusic

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Franklin’s father was quit to nip his daughter’s behavior in the bud, noting that her rising stardom did not excuse her from doing the dishes. She said: 

“I have not been a star since. I really needed that. He grounded me and he gave me balance and from then on I’m not a star, I’m the lady next door.”

Franklin | CBCMusic

Aretha Franklin’s career took off in the 1960s 

While the “lady next door” title may have been a bit of a stretch for the musical icon, we get the gist. Following this conversation with her father, her career boomed as she remained grounded. Franklin snagged a record deal with Columbia in 1960, and later that year, her first single, “Today I Sing the Blues” was released. 

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While the record managed to reach No. 10 on the Billboard Charts, Columbia struggled to successfully market Franklin, as MentalFloss explained. Franklin’s records were doing OK on the charts, but she wasn’t a top-billing act. Everything changed when she signed on with Atlantic Records in 1966; one year later, in 1967, Franklin released “Respect.”