Watch out for Chaka Khan's latest release entitled ClassiKhan
Since her arrival on the scene in the early 1970’s, Chaka Khan has been setting standards in most every music genre: Pop, Rhythm & Blues, Rock, Disco, Fusion, Jazz, Hip-Hop and even classical. Today, Chaka Khan is an 8 time Grammy Award winning musical icon who is known and loved by millions of fans around the world. Over the years, Chaka has built a strong bond and intimacy with her fans while perfecting her craft and bringing her own special brand of energy and dynamism to her live performances.
Her reputation as an exciting onstage performer goes back to her early years when Rufus featuring Chaka Khan began to make an unrivalled impact on the music world with one platinum album, five gold albums, five gold singles and five number one hits as well as two Grammy Awards. Among those many endearing hits: “Sweet Thing,” “Tell Me Something Good,” “Once You Get Started,” “Everlasting Love,” “ Do You Love What You Feel,” and “Ain’t Nobody.”
Launching her solo career with I’m Every Woman, a tune written especially for her by the legendary songwriting team of Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson, Chaka has recorded nine albums and been honored with countless awards. A constant fixture on the global best-selling charts, Khan’s classic hits include: “What Cha Gonna Do For Me?” “Clouds,” the million-selling “I Feel For You,” and “Through The Fire.” Much-loved and admired by her peers, Chaka has constantly worked with some of the music world’s icons, starting with Stevie Wonder who wrote “Tell Me Something Good” especially for Chaka and Rufus and moving onto other superstars like her dear friend Joni Mitchell, world-class producer Quincy Jones and R&B icon Gladys Knight. Other diverse musical talents she has collaborated with include: Dizzy Gillespie, Me’Shell Ndegeocello, Lenny White, Bobby McFerrin, Eric Clapton, Fourplay, Peter Cetera, Phil Collins and Miles Davis. Chaka’s collaboration with veteran rappers, De La Soul on the single “All Good?” spent twelve weeks on Billboard’s Rap Single Chart.
Chaka’s work has not been limited to the studio and stage. Expressing her admiration for children, Chaka recorded the theme song for Levar Burton’s PBS series Reading Rainbow. She has also been inducted to the Sesame Street family, performing with Elmo and Telly. She proudly performs for charity benefits that aid women and children in crisis. In 1999, the Chaka Khan Foundation was established to offer drug and alcohol treatment and services, programs to help women and children transition out of a life of poverty and support programs that assisted battered women. The foundation also assists in the treatment and preventative education of HIV and Hepatitis. It also assists communities with their efforts to encourage artistic, cultural and racial expression as an effort to break down racial barriers. Of this endeavor, Chaka simply says, “It’s time to build up and time to give back.”
Khan an avid film fan, has been involved with the recording of fifteen movie soundtracks. She can be heard on the multi-platinum Waiting to Exhale soundtrack performing “My Funny Valentine” for a new generation. She was nominated for a Grammy Award for her collaboration with Bruce Hornsby on “Love Me Still” which was featured on Spike Lee’s Clockers. Other soundtracks include: Too Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar, White Knights, Miami Vice, Moscow on the Hudson, Disappearing Acts, Have A Little Faith In Me. Chaka and Michael MacDonald recorded the theme song “For Your Love” for the hit television series of the same name. The Yardbirds classic provided Chaka with the opportunity to add yet another gem to a list of outstanding duets that includes “I’ll Be Good To You” with Ray Charles and “Higher Love” with Steve Winwood – both recordings were Grammy Award winners.
Over the years, Chaka has expanded her creativity by taking to the theatrical stage: she was featured in a lead role in the London West End production of Mama, I Want to Sing. Her performance that earned her London’s “1995 Capitol Radio Listener’s Poll Award for London’s Best Actress.” In 1996, the State of Illinois and City of Chicago declared Oct 19th as Chaka Kkan Day. The same year she was presented with the “Lena Horne Lady of Soul Award” and the Soul Train’s “Career Achievement Award.”
Chaka has spent the last few years performing and preparing the release of ClassiKhan which is the debut release on her Earthsong Record Label. Indeed, ClassiKhan is aptly titled for it features the renowned London Symphony Orchestra accompanying Chaka onsongs such as Peggy Lee’s “Is That All There Is?” and “The Best Is Yet To Come.” Working on ten songs with producer/arranger Eve Nelson and famed musician Joe Sample on three tracks, Chaka recorded her vocals in London mostly at the famous Abbey Road Studios and many done live with the London Symphony. “That orchestra added a special dimension to the process of recording,” Chaka recalls. “I adore them. They are unaffected people who know their art. Working with them, there was a true and honest beauty without a whole lot of fanfare.”
Chaka’s song choices for ClassiKhan ran the musical gamut: “Hey Big Spender,” “I’m In The Mood For Love,” Patsy Cline’s “Crazy,” “The Best Is Yet To Come” and “To Sir With Love” (the first single off the disc) which Chaka explains “Well, “To Sir With Love” is just a beautiful song. Not too many people have done it before and when I sing it, I think of my father and the song is dedicated to him.” The album’s closing cut, the poignant yet lyrically powerful “I Believe,” a Khan-penned original.
ClassiKhan comes on the heels of a highly productive period for Chaka in which the Chicago-born-multi-talented singer, songwriter and musician has added several milestones to an already impressive career. In 2003, Chaka’s frank and candid autobiography Chaka! Through The Fire was published with rave reviews. Chaka also created her own line of chocolates Chakalates which can be found in all twenty two Neimen Marcus stores and as a testament to the enduring nature of her music and her influence on a whole generation of today’s performers, hip-hop artist and producer Kayne West had a huge hit this year with “Through The Wire” (which contained samples of “Through the Fire) as an homage to Chaka adding to the array of covers Khan classics such as “Sweet Thing,” revisited by Mary J. Blige and “I’m Every Women,” revived by Whitney Houston (fifteen years after it became Chaka’s first hit as a solo artist).
Khan currently resides in Los Angeles.Posted by Peter Böhi at December 8, 2004 12:12 PM