We all know how celebs love their summer vacation from the royals to the wannabe’s. While the world followed Harry and Kate on their recent US coastal vacation this summer, our very own Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, a/k/a The Duchess of Detroit, is now taking over the east coast: New York City and the Hamptons to be exact! Ms. Franklin is enjoying a much needed break from her hectic touring schedule which resumes at the Jones Beach Theatre on July 27. So what, exactly, does a diva do when she has some precious time off? Aretha’s been enjoying the city and plans a long weekend jaunt to the Hamptons. She’s already taken in a number of plays while here, including a performance of Baby It’s You (the musical tribute to the Shirelles) at the Broadhurst Theatre.
The queen was also spotted dining with a large group of close friends at Le Cirque one night and at La Grenouille on another. Perhaps most impressive is the fact that Ms. Franklin has been studying the Juilliard piano technique with celebrated pianist and teacher Melissa Manning. Manning, a Juilliard-trained concert pianist teaches at the renowned Piano School of NYC, is also a former Miss New York State. Franklin’s NY hotel suite was outfitted with a beautiful baby grand Steinway and Manning has been giving the queen private lessons almost every day since her NYC arrival.
Franklin has also found time to shop and catch up on her reading, she’s reading the new Sugar Ray Leonard tome, The Big Fight: My Life In and Out of the Ring and Stay In Your Lane by Judge Karen Mills-Francis. Of course Franklin did get in a little work time too — she recorded, for the first time ever, a historic duet with Tony Bennett. The song is the Michel LeGrand & Alan and Marilyn Bergman classic “How Do You Keep The Music Playing?”. The track was produced by the legendary Mr. Phil Ramone and will be part of Tony Bennett’s upcoming duets album II, scheduled for release in September to coincide with Bennett’s 85th birthday gala at the Metropolitan Opera. The Queen also stopped by Regis & Kelly this morning to promte her new album, A Woman Falling Out of Love, available only at Walmat. But alais, all good things must come to an end, for her, not us! She resumes her tour next Wedesday, July 27th at the Jones Beach Theatre in Long Island