From her early years as the lead singer of the pioneering 70’s group Rufus to her status as a legendary musical icon, Chaka Khan can truly claim her status as a modern-day renaissance woman. Chaka Khan’s distinctive vocal style has influenced and impacted a whole generation of hit making contemporary artists and her commitment as a humanitarian and philanthropist has continued to thrive through the work of her own foundation.
Chaka Khan is an eight-time Grammy winner known for a catalog of classic hits: “Tell Me Something Good,” “Sweet Thing,” "Once You Get Started," "Everlasting Love," "Do You Love What You Feel," "Ain’t Nobody," “I’m Every Woman,” “I Feel For You,” “Through The Fire,” “Clouds”, “I’ll Be Good To You”, and “Whatcha Gonna Do For Me”. Khan has worked in practically every genre of music from pop, R&B, rock, disco, world music and fusion to jazz, rap, hip-hop, and classical. The diverse list of distinguished collaborators with whom Chaka has recorded includes but is not limited to Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, Ashford & Simpson, Rod Stewart, Manhattan Transfer, Dizzy Gillespie, Gladys Knight, Joe Henderson, Me'Shell Ndegeocello, Lenny White, Bobby McFerrin, Melle Mel, Lionel Hampton, Eric Clapton, Fourplay, Peter Cetera, Queen Latifah, Brandy, Tamia, Kanye West, Shaggy, Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Clarke, Ry Cooder, Bruce Hornsby, Guru, Phil Collins, De La Soul, Michael MacDonald, Steve Winwood, and, Miles Davis. Emotive vocals have been the trademark of Ms. Khan who has graced the soundtracks of several movies including “Clockers,” "Set It Off," "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar," "Miami Vice," "White Knights," "Moscow on the Hudson," "Disappearing Acts,” "Waiting to Exhale," and “Standing In The Shadows Of Motown,” and the recent Tyler Perry hit “Madea’s Family Reunion".
Winner of the 1995 London’s Best Actress Capitol Radio Listener’s Poll Award Recipient for “Mama, I Want to Sing", a Diamond Life Awardee of Excellence from the International Association of African-American Music (IAAAM), recipient of the “Soul Train’s Lena Horne Lady of Soul Career Achievement Award”, declared a "power mover" by Vibe Magazine, recipient of a BET Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006, and given the date October 19th as Chaka Khan Day by the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago, Ms. Khan is definitely a force to be reckoned with.
A renowned proponent of ‘old school’ soul music, Chaka Khan’s energy, dynamism, and passion through live performances for over three decades, Chaka Khan has brought her special brand of vocal magic to audiences the world over. Chaka Khan‘sprowess as a credited creative force behind her impressive catalog of solo albums is one that is held in high regard by her peers: executive producer for the 1992 Grammy-winning "The Woman I Am” and Chaka’s 1998 album “Come 2 My House” featuring a number of Khan compositions. Chaka’s range as an artist is both timeless and limitless as demonstrated in her ability to interpret a range of enduring songs associated with artists such as Peggy Lee, Patsy Cline, Shirley Bassey, Oscar Brown Jr. and Lena Horne, captured on her 2004 release “Classikhan,” recorded with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
But it’s away from the stage and the recording studio that Chaka’s light has continued to promote a need for change. Her inspiring autobiography “Through The Fire” was acclaimed for its soul-bearing candor and honesty and her commitment to women and children at risk is seen through her countless hours of dedication to the Chaka Khan Foundation. Formed in 1999, the Foundations’ most recent initiative involves a partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School district mentoring 5th and 6th grade students who are college-bound. Of her work with the Foundation and Chaka Khan’s other philanthropic endeavors which include participation in numerous charity benefits devoted to conquering autism, AIDS and championing resources for women and children, Chaka simply says, "It’s time to build up and time to give back".
Entrepreneurial in spirit, Chaka Khan’s entertainment company Chaka Khan Enterprises is definitely a family affair. Her mother, Sandra Coleman, works as her business manager; and her sister, Tammy McCrary, is her personal manager; while her daughter Milini (who enjoyed success as the lead singer for the group Pretty in Pink) has a burgeoning solo career and her son Damien is also an aspiring record producer.
An inspiration for hit artists such as Mary J. Blige and Erykah Badu (who have both covered Khan classics), an iconic musical pioneer, a dynamic performer, a compassionate humanitarian, and creative entrepreneur, Chaka Khan is truly coming into her own as a multi-faceted renaissance woman with a heart and soul to match her everlasting musical artistry.