A surprise to no one, talent runs in Aretha Franklin’s family.
Grace, the 15-year-old granddaughter of the late singing legend, auditioned for the newest season of American Idol.
“I was really close to my grandma,” she said in an introduction clip of herself. “I got to see her all the time. I used to travel with her a lot.”
She added, “I feel like people expect me to sing exactly like her, but I’m my own artist and I have my own voice.”
She took the stage in front of Lionel Richie, a past collaborator of Aretha’s, singer Katy Perry and Luke Bryan. She initially didn’t perform any of her grandmother’s classics, instead, opting to try the Fugees’ “Killing Me Softly.” When asked to sing something else that could better showcase her voice, Grace then took on Aretha’s “Ain’t No Way.” You can see how both performances turned out and where the judges disagreed (in a dramatic way) regarding her abilities at her young age.
Article continues after video.
Grace is the daughter of Aretha’s son, Kecalf Cunningham Franklin, her youngest child from her relationship with road manager Ken Cunningham. Overall, the queen of soul had four sons, including son Clarence, Edward, Ted White Jr., or Teddy (who played guitar for his mother on tour), and Kecalf, of course. Kecalf brought his mother three grandchildren, including Grace, and elder kids Victorie and Jordan.
If you’ve seen Grace before, it’s because she, along with other family members, was a vocal opponent of the Genius: Aretha series that came out to rave reviews on National Geographic in 2021. The family was not involved in that project, but was directly involved in the Respect biopic starring Jennifer Hudson.
“During the process of writing, directing, and filming this movie, we’ve reached out to Genius as a family on multiple occasions where we have been disrespected and told that we will not be worked with,” she said in a TikTok video. “As the immediate family — emphasis on immediate — we do not support this film and we ask that you also do not support this film, as we feel extremely disrespected, and we feel there will be many inaccuracies about my grandmother’s life.”
The Franklin family is very protective of Aretha’s legacy, and that’s because they all had a special relationship with the music icon. Take a look below at images of Franklin’s family, including photos of mother and sons together, from over the years.