Aretha Franklin Inducted Into Gospel Music Hall of Fame

One of America's most famous soul singers, Aretha Franklin, has been inducted into the Gospel Music Association's Gospel Music Hall of Fame in Hendersonville, Tenn. on August 14.

The "Queen of Soul" was not present at Tuesday's induction ceremony at the Trinity Music City venue, but sent a video message to be played in her absence.

Franklin, who became known as a Gospel star after her 1972 live album "Amazing Grace," started her career as a soul singer at her father Rev. C.L. Franklin's New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit.

"Being a singer is a natural gift. It means I'm using to the highest degree possible the gift that God gave me to use. I'm happy with that," Franklin has previously said.

Tuesday's ceremony also inducted country/bluegrass star Ricky Skaggs, who told The Tennessean that he was surprised to receive such an honor.

"I'm a Christian, but I'm really a secular artist, more 'marketplace music' you would call it," he told The Tennessean.

"So this one kind of really slipped up on me, and when I saw it come in, that they were honoring me, it was a special treat. It was such a shock, such a surprise," he added.

The event also featured the inductions of Christian musician Dallas Holm, well-known American television evangelist Rex Humbard, Christian rock band Love Song, and the family Gospel group the Hoppers.

"It is great to see our Christian and gospel music communities come together to pay tribute to this year's GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame inductee," Jackie Patillo, Executive Director of the Gospel Music Association and President of the Gospel Music Foundation said in a statement.

"It is an honour to recognise our trailblazers and remind the world of the people God has used to spread the gospel through music," she added.

Franklin, 70, and Skaggs, 58, join other great American musicians in the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, including country singers Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton.

Franklin, a Memphis, Tenn. native, moved to Detroit, Mich. when she was six, and currently resides there.

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