“Chaka is a one-of-a-kind, premier vocalist.” – Aretha Franklin
“She sings like my horn.” – Miles Davis
Chaka Khan is one of the world’s most gifted and celebrated musicians, with a rich musical legacy she is a 10-time GRAMMY® Award-winner. A songwriter, actor, author, philanthropist, entrepreneur and activist, Chaka Khan has influenced generations of recording artists.
Early on, she caught the attention of music icon Stevie Wonder, who penned her first smash hit with Rufus, “Tell Me Something Good.” The single from the group’s 1974 platinum-selling album, Rags to Rufus, earned Chaka her first GRAMMY® Award. With Chaka as the group’s dynamic center, Rufus became one of the most popular acts around selling out shows throughout the country and dominating the airwaves with hit after hit with songs such as “You Got the Love,” which Chaka co-wrote, “Once You Get Started,” “Sweet Thing,” “Everlasting Love,” “Do You Love What You Feel?” and “Ain’t Nobody,” Chaka’s second GRAMMY Award-winning song with Rufus. Rufus and Chaka Khan racked up five RIAA certified gold and platinum albums during their time together.
It was inevitable that a singer with Chaka’s star power would eventually venture out on her own. In 1978, Chaka blazed onto the music scene as a solo artist with the release of the smash hit “I’m Every Woman” written by Ashford & Simpson. Paired with the late producer extraordinaire, Arif Mardin (Aretha Franklin, Bette Midler), her catalog grew even more impressive with hits such as “Clouds,” “Papillon,” and “What ‘Cha Gonna Do For Me?” It was during this time that Chaka began pursuing her love of jazz. She and Arif brilliantly re-worked the classic song “Night in Tunisia” with the song’s originator, Dizzy Gillespie, on trumpet. Chaka also recorded an album of jazz standards titled Echoes of an Era, which featured such luminaries as Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, and Lenny White. Her crowning achievement in jazz was the GRAMMY® Award-winning tune, “Be Bop Medley.” The song’s album, titled Chaka Khan, also won a GRAMMY® for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.
However, the song that made Chaka Khan a household name and propelled her to superstardom the world over was “I Feel For You,” written and first performed by Prince. This chart-topping, GRAMMY® Award-winning song also made music history. Released in 1984, it was the first R&B song to feature a rap, which was performed by Grandmaster Melle Mel. Chaka also topped the charts with “This Is My Night” and the instant classic, “Through The Fire.” Now in top demand, Chaka lent her voice and producer skills to two of the biggest hits of 1986, Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love” and Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love.” Both were GRAMMY®-winning songs.
During her career, she has collaborated with a long list of artists in diverse genres. Collaborators have included Miles Davis, Quincy Jones, Dizzy Gillespie, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Steve Winwood, Mary J. Blige, George Benson, Larry Graham, the London Symphony Orchestra and countless others.