Aretha Franklin’s Granddaughter Speaks Out After ‘American Idol’ Audition Where Katy Perry Walked Off Set

Recently, we saw Jennifer Hudson take on the role of Aretha Franklin in the biographical drama Respect, not long after Cynthia Erivo portrayed the Queen of Soul in the anthology series, Genius: Aretha. However, these Hollywood stars aren't the only ones maintaining the legacy of the hitmaker.

Back in February, the “Respect” singer's granddaughter, Grace Franklin, auditioned for American Idol with two songs—“Killing Me Softly with His Song” and “Ain’t No Way.” Sadly, the 15-year-old's audition did not advance her to the next level of competition (to the disappointment of Katy Perry, who ended up walking off set). But, it doesn't seem like this will be the last we see of Grace.

In a new interview on TODAY, the teen reflected on the legacy of her grandma, and how she keeps the legend's spirit alive while she sings. “I feel [my grandmother's] presence with me any time I perform,” Grace said. “I always think of how she used to prepare in her dressing room and just her words of encouragement whenever me and my siblings ever perform: To always remember that God is with you on stage and whatever happens, you know that you're great.”

As it turns out, Grace is currently a performer at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan, which is the same exact spot where her grandmother got her start as a singer.

When asked if it felt surreal to be performing in the same place where her grandmother first gained notice, Grace said, “It's crazy to think that a lot of the same people that were with her when she was younger in the same church are watching me now.”

But Grace says that she learned a lot from watching her grandma, and she is constantly inspired by “the way that [Aretha] could change any song to make it her own.” She also added that Franklin's cover of “Don't Play That Song (You Lied)” is probably her personal favorite of all her grandmother's tracks.

As revealed by interviewer Blayne Alexander at the end of the clip, Grace is set to perform at Carnegie Hall with the Detroit Youth Choir later this summer. Meanwhile, TODAY host Carson Daly closed the video by inviting Grace to come onto The Voice.

We look forward to seeing more of this talented family in the future.

Want all the latest entertainment news sent right to your inbox? Click here.

Joel Calfee

Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

Joel is the Associate Editor for News & Entertainment and has been reporting on all things pop culture for over 5 years. Before working at PureWow, he served as a Features...
read full bio