The Queen Next Door: New Book Captures Behind-The-Scenes Look at Aretha Franklin’s Life

Award-winning photojournalist Linda Solomon first met the late Queen of Soul in 1983. That meeting turned into decades of photographing Franklin’s most intimate moments.

Linda Solomon / Wayne State University Press
Linda Solomon / Wayne State University Press

In photojournalist Linda Solomon’s new book “The Queen Next Door: Aretha Franklin, An Intimate Portrait,” she recounts the relationship she built with the Queen of Soul that started decades ago back in 1983 when Solomon was just launching her career at the Detroit News.

“I would always take a few photographs whether it would be at one of her private birthday parties, her son’s graduation or during rehearsals at some of her most iconic concerts,” says Solomon. “I was never in her face with my camera. That was one of the things that she appreciated and respected.”

On the one year anniversary of Franklin’s passing, Solomon spoke with CultureShift’s Amanda LeClaire and Ryan Patrick Hooper about the importance of striking a balance between friend and photojournalist.

“She was one of the most private celebrities, but if she trusted you, the relationship was one that you could cherish forever,” says Solomon. “It’s one I continue to be blessed by.”

“The Queen Next Door” is due out later this month from Wayne State University Press.

Click the player above to hear the full interview with photojournalist Linda Solomon on CultureShift.


  • Ryan Patrick Hooper
    Ryan Patrick Hooper is the award-winning host and producer of CultureShift on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit’s NPR station. Hooper has covered stories for the New York Times, NPR, Detroit Free Press, Hour Detroit, SPIN and Paste magazine.