Chaka Khan

Chaka Khan

American singer

Background:

Eight-time Grammy-winning American singer Chaka Khan, born Yvette Marie Stevens,
first came to prominence as a member of the group Rufus, with which she enjoyed
great victory thanks to the Grammy-winning songs “Tell Me Something Good” (1973)
and “Ain’t Nobody” (1983), as well as such R&B hits as “Masterjam,” “Do You Love
What You Feel?,” “Once You Get Started” and “Sweet Thing.”

In addition, the R&B diva also created a flourishing solo career. She is perhaps
best-known to music listeners for her fabulous 1984 cover of Prince’s “I Feel
for You,” where she nabbed a 1984 Grammy Award. She further increased her
popularity by taking home Grammy Awards for her outstanding work in songs “Be
Bop Medley,” “I’ll Be Good To You,” “The Woman I Am” and “What’s Going On,” and
1982’s album Chaka Khan. More recently, Black Entertainment Television honors
Khan with its Lifetime Achievement Award at a ceremony in Los Angeles.

Outside the limelight, Khan was once listed as one of VH1’s “100 Greatest Women
of Rock N Roll.” The owner of a record label named Earth Song and the production
company Raeven Productions earned an honorary doctorate degree from Berklee
College of Music on December 3, 2004. Privately speaking, Khan has been married
three times. She married Hasan Khan from 1970 to 1971 and then Richard Holland
from 1974 until 1979. She married her current husband, Doug Rasheed, in 2001.
Khan is the mother of two children, daughter Millini (born 1973: father Rahsaan
Morris) and son Damien Holland (born 1979) and has a granddaughter named Raeven.



Yvette Marie Stevens

Childhood and Family:

Daughter of Charles Stevens and Sandra Coleman, Yvette Marie Stevens, who would
later be famous as Chaka Khan (African named she adopted while working on the
Black Panthers’ Free Breakfast for Children), was born on March 23, 1953, in
Great Lakes, Illinois, and grew up in Chicago’s South Side. Starting to form
group at age 11, Khan dropped out of high school five years later to further
pursue her singing career. She is the sister of singers Mark Stevens and Taka
Boom, Kathleen Burrell and Tammy McCrary (who is her manager).

After a short-lived marriage with first husband Hasan Khan (from 1970 until
1971), Khan tied the knot with Richard Holland in 1974 and welcomed a baby son
named Damien Holland in 1979. Unfortunately, the bond ended in divorce a year
later. At age 39, she became a grandmother, when daughter Millini (born 1973),
from a previous relationship with Rahsaan Morris), gave birth to baby girl
Raeven. Khan married third husband Doug Rasheed in 2001.


The Woman I Am

Career:

Illinois-born Chaka Khan formed her first band named the Crystalettes when she
was 11 years old and joined the Afro-Arts Theater, a group which toured with
Motown great Mary Wells, while still in high school. After leaving her high
school, she became a member of the dance bands Lyfe and the Babysitters.
However, Khan did not gain prominence until she collaborated with former
American Breed member Kevin Murphy and André Fisher to set up the funk band
Rufus.

Differentiated by Khan’s dynamic vocals, Rufus became one of the greatest funk
groups during the 1970s. Their self-titled debut album hit the music shelves in
1973, and the following year the band entered the pop and R&B charts thanks to
the hit single “Tell Me Something Good.” The song won Khan her first Grammy for
Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group Or Chorus in 1974. The group scored
many R&B hits, such as “Masterjam,” “Do You Love What You Feel?,” “Once You Get
Started” and “Sweet Thing,” throughout the 1970s and early 1980s.

After Rufus received six platinum or gold albums, Khan launched a solo career
with the release of the momentous Chaka in 1978. Song “I’m Every Woman,” Khan’s
highly-orchestrated Arif Mardin-produced disco, became a smash hit, and the
album itself was well-received. Unfortunately, the success was somewhat
overshadowed by her public jealousy with the remaining members of Rufus, to whom
she was still contractually bound for two more LPs. Despite the annoyance,
Khan’s sophomore effort, Naughty, hit the music store in 1980. Unlike its
predecessor, the album was not a hit and so was its follow-up, What Cha’ Gonna
Do for Me? (1981).

Khan’s forth recording, Chaka Khan (1982), included more great music, including
a astonishing remake of Michael Jackson’s “Got To Be There,” and a collaboration
with the late Rick James, “Slow Dancin.” Her work in song “'Be Bop Medley” even
handed Khan a Grammy for Best Vocal Arrangement For Two Or More Voices. The
album itself brought Khan a 1983 Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance-Female.
Still in 1982, she also provided vocals to the Echoes Of An Era album, which was
a compilation of jazz standards and featured other artists like Chick Corea, Joe
Henderson, Lenny White, Stanley Clarke and Freddie Hubbard.

The singer returned to Rufus to record her last contractually compelled album,
“Stompin’ At The Savoy: Live” in 1983. The album had live version of Rufus
classics, Khan’s solo hits and some additional newly recorded tracks. The
successful song “Ain’t Nobody” helped Khan reach the top of the urban and top 40
charts again. The song also brought Khan a Grammy for Best R&B Performance By A
Duo Or Group With Vocal.

In 1984, Khan’s solo career gained much boost when she launched the
highly-successful album I Feel for You. The album title track, which was
composed and originally recorded by Prince on his self-titled debut album in
1979, and featuring a harmonica cameo appearance by Stevie Wonder and rap by
Melle Mel, was a massive hit. Other notable songs included the David
Foster-produced “Through the Fire” and “'This Is My Night.” With such great
accomplishment, Khan was handed a Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance.

Still, while her following LPs like Destiny (1986) and C.K (1988) kept Khan
riding high on the R&B charts, her eminence in pop’s mainstream again started to
fade, and at the late 1980s, she moved to Europe. In 1990, Khan picked up a
Grammy for Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal for her brilliant
duet with Ray Charles, “I’ll Be Good To You.” Returning to her recording studio,
Khan enjoyed another victory in 1992 after the release of her album, The Woman I
Am, which produced the hit single “Love You All My Lifetime.” The song was
written by German hit songwriter duo Irmgard Klarmann and Felix Weber and was
produced by David Gamson. The Woman I Am won Khan another Grammy for Best R&B
Vocal Performance.

A follow-up album, Dare You To Love Me, was set to be released in 1995, but
Warner Brothers shelved the project and a number of great music remained unheard
for years. Some of her songs were included in her 1996’s Epiphany: The Best Of
Chaka Khan, while other were finally featured on different movie soundtracks
throughout the years. Two years after departing Warner Bros., in 1998, Khan
teamed up with Prince to produce Come 2 My House, a unique mix of funky dance
tunes, seductive love songs, and personal lyrics that invite the listeners into
Khan’s sanctuary.

In 2002, Khan netted a Grammy for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for her
bright collaboration with The Funk Brothers in song “What’s Going On.” She
released ClassiKhan, a collection of pop and Jazz Standards, in 2004 and her
‘Platinum Collection’ album was launched in 2006. For her great contribution to
music, Khan recently received a Black Entertainment Television (BET) for
Lifetime Achievement.


Awards:

Black Entertainment Television (BET): Lifetime Achievement, 2006
Grammy: Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance,” What's Going On,” (with
The Funk Brothers), 2002
Grammy: Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female, “The Woman I Am,” 1992
Grammy: Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal, “I’ll Be Good
To You” (with Ray Charles), 1990
Grammy: Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female, “I Feel For You,” 1984
Grammy: Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal, “Ain’t
Nobody,” 1983
Grammy: Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female, Chaka Khan, 1983
Grammy: Best Vocal Arrangement For Two Or More Voices, “Be Bop Medley,”
1983
Grammy: Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group Or Chorus, “Tell Me
Something Good,” 1974
I can only give what I have. And when I receive, I give it back.More Chaka Khan quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]
There is no perfect love - that's something I'm very realistic about.More Chaka Khan quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]
I'd been in a vicious cycle and circle of people and couldn't see my way out. So I picked myself up one day about 15 years ago and moved where I didn't know anyone.More Chaka Khan quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]
I mean, I'm not unhappy, but there's still so much I want to do.More Chaka Khan quotes [03/22/2006 12:03:00]
When I was in my twenties, it felt like I was riding wild horses, and I was hoping I didn't go over a cliff.More Chaka Khan quotes [03/22/2006 12:03:00]

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