Franklin was a minister. At the age of 18, she embarked on a secular-music career as a recording artist for Columbia Records. While Franklin's career did not immediately flourish, she found acclaim and commercial success after signing with Atlantic Records in
Who Was Aretha Franklin?
Remembering Aretha Franklin
She could do country, probably. People heard Aretha, and they were inspired. She had songs in the Billboard R-and-B charts and 17 pop hit singles, but what was more important was the way she freed other singers, the way she showed other singers this is how a voice can fly. You can hear Aretha Franklin in Whitney Houston. You can hear Aretha Franklin in Chaka Khan. You can hear Aretha Franklin in men, too, Luther Vandross.
A gifted singer and pianist, Aretha Franklin toured with her father's traveling revival show and later visited New York, where she signed with Columbia Records. Franklin went on to release several popular singles, many of which are now considered classics. In she became the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in she won her 18th Grammy Award, making her one of the most honored artists in Grammy history. Franklin's parents separated by the time she was six, and four years later her mother succumbed to a heart attack. Guided by C. Franklin's musical gifts became apparent at an early age. Largely self-taught, she was regarded as a child prodigy. A gifted pianist with a powerful voice, Franklin got her start singing in front of her father's congregation.