The Queen of Soul finished six tracks off upcoming album, and is learning to speak French and play classical piano.
Franklin, 72, performs at the fair Thursday (July 31) for the latest stop on her 2014 tour. "I love the state fair, and I love elephant ears," she said. The Queen of Soul is billed for Wisconsin and Minnesota state fairs in August.
After Wisconsin, Franklin will go on vacation in the Big Apple, and continue work on the new skills she's picking up, like learning to speak French and play classical piano. The soul singer is taking music lessons courtesy of a graduate from Julliard, where she "always wanted" to attend. "My schedule was so heavy at that time that it just never allowed me the time to go there for long enough to learn something," she said.
She hopes to reach the level of legendary Russian-born classical pianist and composer Vladimir Horowitz.
In between touring, piano lessons, and learning the language of love, Franklin is recording her new album. She has so far completed six tracks.
The untitled album includes covers of "Midnight Train to Georgia," by Gladys Knight and the Pips, Ike and Tina Turner's "What's Love Got to Do With It," "Fallin'" from Alicia Keys, and a rendition of Donna Summer's disco classic "Last Dance."
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(Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)