With the new album A Brand New Me: Aretha Franklin with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra getting released this Friday, a short behind-the-scenes documentary looking at the making of the record has premiered at Rhino’s official YouTube channel. As previously reported, the album features reworked versions of some of the Queen of Soul’s classic songs pairing her original vocal performances with new orchestral accompaniment.
The six-minute video features new interviews with funk legend Nile Rodgers, A Brand New Me co-producers Don Reedman and Nick Patrick, and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s managing director, James Williams. It also includes archival performance footage of Aretha and scenes of the orchestra recording its symphonic parts at London’s Abbey Road Studios.
In the documentary, Reedman discusses the concept behind A Brand New Me, noting that “the idea was to create a new, fresh sound, but retain the authenticity and the feeling that [Franklin] put into those original recordings, and then blend in that amazing voice with a 60-piece orchestra.”
Rodgers, meanwhile, says that he’s performed with Aretha on occasion and proceeds to talk about how impressive her singing is.
“Try and be a producer and try and be in control and have her just singing there in your ear. Impossible.” he maintains. “She’s genius. I mean, those are people that breathe this rarefied air that are touched by gods and angels.”
The video also includes audio segments of three songs that appear on A Brand New Me — “I Say a Little Prayer,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” and “Respect.”
As previously reported, A Brand New Me co-producers Reedman and Patrick are the same duo behind recent albums by Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison combining archival vocal performances and new symphonic arrangements.
Here’s the full A Brand New Me track list:
“Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)”
“I Say a Little Prayer”
“Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)”
“A Brand New Me”
“(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”
“Border Song (Holy Moses)”
“Let It Be”
“People Get Ready”
“Oh Me Oh My (I’m a Fool for You Baby)”
“You’re All I Need to Get By”
“Son of a Preacher Man”
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