But this time around, he told CNN, there was something very different about the legendary singer.
“There was a lot of crying, the whole weekend,” he said. “Can you imagine Aretha Franklin crying? There was a lot of crying to the point where I was weirded out.”
There will be a great deal of tears in Detroit again this week connected to the Queen of Soul as the city — her city — bids her farewell.
Franklin died August 16 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 76.
A star-studded, private funeral is set for August 31 at 10 a.m. at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit.
Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Hudson, Yolanda Adams, Fantasia, Faith Hill and Pastor Shirley Caesar are among those set to perform at the funeral.
The ceremony will culminate a week of planned events in Detroit, which will include her body lying in state Tuesday and Wednesday at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.
While she was born in Memphis, Tennessee, Franklin is more closely identified with the city of Detroit, where she lived most of her life.
He is passionate about using the arts to both highlight Detroit’s growth and encourage it.
With the city’s rich history in music — which includes everything from techno to rock and soul — Paul said he had the idea to create a festival that would celebrate the various genres and Detroit.
Having produced for Franklin a half dozen times, he said he went to her with the idea for Detroit Music Weekend in November 2016 and she loved it.
The singer was also aware that to pull off such an event, it would require a well-known artist to draw attendees, and naturally Paul wanted it to be Franklin.
“Aretha is a double-edged sword,” Paul told CNN recently. “She does things, or she doesn’t do things. It’s very definitive. You can’t talk her into it.”