MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Soul legend Aretha Franklin’s music touched people across the globe.READ MORE: State Argues Judge Should Reject COVID-19 Records Case
The ‘Queen of Soul’ had a special connection to Miami, from early-career performances to iconic recording sessions.
Fans of the 18-time Grammy winner called in to Hot 105 Thursday to express their condolences following Franklin’s death on Thursday.
“I’m sure she’s in heaven having a great concert,” one caller said.
“She was one of the best of the best in the music world,” said another.
“I am so saddened and heartbroken but I am thankful that God allowed me to live in this time zone and be a part of Aretha’s life and all the joy she brought to us over the years,” said a third.
Radio host James T got to know Franklin over the years, interviewing her and spending time with her.
“She was always a very positive person,” said radio personality James T, during a break from his broadcast.
He said her talent was endless.
“A person could take a song but it only became a great song when they presented it, when they delivered it and there was something so unique about Aretha delivering a song,” he said.
He’s saddened by her death as she declined, eventually succumbing to cancer. But he’s also grateful that her art and talent will live on.
“[Do] Not allow a moment of death to a body to waste a lifetime of love that people give,” he said. “That’s powerful. Aretha lives.”
One of the biggest singing names to come out of South Florida, Gloria Estefan, posted about Franklin on Instagram.
For several years, Aretha Franklin recorded albums at Criteria Recording Studio in North Miami.
Two of her gold records hang on the wall inside.READ MORE: Ring Doorbell Camera Appears To Show Elderly Woman Threatening Neighbor With Knife
Brothers Ron and Howard Albert engineered two her albums that she recorded in South Florida in the early 1970’s.
“The energy was so incredible,” said Ron. “It was a magical experience.”
“I don’t think we did 2 or 3 takes on any given song,” said Howard. “You could tell it was a hit right away.”
They worked with Aretha in a room where some of her gold albums hang on the wall. The brothers said her musicianship and talent was off the charts.
“She knew what she wanted and she would settle for nothing less,” said Ron.
“Between her and the band the backup singers, it was incredible,” recalled Howard. “Most of it was on the fly.”
Ron Albert and his brother won a Grammy with Aretha and they said other well-known artists have remarked that her albums and songs will live on forever as they have inspired legions of others performers.
“They were made for the Mary J. Blige’s to listen to and not be copied but be influenced by and create a whole new sound, a new genre, based on Aretha Franklin,” he said.
Franklin was in Miami early in her career, like many acts in those days playing clubs and rooms in racially segregated America.
In Miami, many of those rooms were in Overtown.
“You could find her in the northwestern high school auditorium right down the street on 14th street,” said writer Jake Katel.
She played many Miami venues, all courtesy of legendary Miami promoter Clyde Killens.
It was Killens that gave Franklin career changing advice:
“He said she did not have a stage performance but when she sat at the piano, played it. It was awesome,” said Tim Barber.
A small billboard promoting a franklin Overtown appearance popped up at one point, admission $2.50.
“White people also came to these places,” Dr. Enid Curtis Pickney. “So entertainment integrated Miami.”
Franklin stayed at Miami’s historic Hampton House, often performing.
Now restored, the long ago hot spot played an important role in Miami race relations.MORE NEWS: Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa Placed On Injured Reserve
“Aretha Franklin help break down walls of segregation in Miami at the Hampton House because white people, all kinds of people came here to see her,” said Dr. Pickney.