Aretha Franklin's connection to Robert Kennedy goes far beyond her appearance on the "Bobby" soundtrack.
The Queen of Soul, who performs a duet on the album with Mary J. Blige, used to perform at the old Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, where Kennedy was assassinated in 1968, and also sang at Kennedy's memorial service.
So when her agent called and asked her if she'd sing on the soundtrack to "Bobby," the new film centered around Kennedy's assassination, "I said I would love to do it," Franklin told The Associated Press.
"Like most people, I appreciated the Kennedys, and I did do Bobby's memorial service at Arlington (National) Cemetery and met the rest of the family and thought very highly of them," Franklin said in a phone interview last week. "I just couldn't let it pass."
Franklin said she learned even more about Kennedy through her involvement in the project. The final song on the soundtrack, out Tuesday, features a speech by the late politician.
"I had no idea Bobby Kennedy was as deep as he was," Franklin said. "He really had a lot of substance and content."
She also talked about the "awful" time of turmoil in the nation that the movie depicts through the lives of several fictional characters.
"It's really something that we should all take a look at again," she said.
Franklin performs the inspirational song "Never Gonna Break My Faith," with Blige; she previously appeared on one of Blige's albums. Of working with the R&B diva, Franklin said: "It's always delightful. We had fun. She's a younger artist whom I appreciate."
But Franklin seems to have had the most fun working on her own upcoming album, which she plans to release in February on her own label, Aretha's Records, reports AP.
"I've got a lot of good stuff, a lot of good stuff I'm very very happy with all of it," she said of the record, which includes a duet with Faith Hill.
"I'm so happy and delighted that it was my project entirely. I didn't have to ask anyone about anything, I didn't have to get anybody's approval about anything this has been my thing."