Aretha Franklin celebrated her 70th birthday this weekend with another landmark: the decision to reunite with her former mentor, record executive Clive Davis, for a new album.
During the soul star's party at the luxurious Helmsley Park Lane Hotel in New York on Saturday night, Franklin announced in a brief interview that she had signed a new contract with Sony Music Entertainment, where Davis serves as Chief Creative Officer. Davis signed Franklin to Arista Records during her career slump in the Eighties, a move that reinvigorated her career and helped to define his.
"I have re-signed with Clive Davis, so I’m recording with Clive again," she explained, continuing that the pair would meet within the next month to decide what material they would include. Davis accompanied her at the gala, which also included guests Diane Sawyer and Willie Wilkerson (Franklin's brief fiancè earlier this year) and included the crowd's rendition of Stevie Wonder's take on "Happy Birthday."
Franklin and Davis's Eighties parternship under the Arista umbrella yielded numerous hit albums, including 1980's Aretha, 1982's Jump to It and 1985's Who's Zoomin Who?