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Aretha Franklin blossomed into arguably the greatest singer of all time, but the fame and acclaim wasn’t achieved overnight. The Queen of Soul flexed her enviable vocal chords from a young age, which took her from singing in the church to ultimately signing a major record contract and releasing her debut album at the age of 18.

Scroll through the below photos showing scenes from early on in her career on her way to fully earning her iconic nickname.

Aretha Franklin In Pictures: Rare Photos From The Queen Of Soul’s Early Career  was originally published on