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Chaka Khan Biography


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Birth Name: Yvette Marie Stevens
Born: 1953/03/23
Birth Place: North Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Years Active: 1969-1978, 1983 (Groups) 1978-Present (Solo)
Genres: R&B, Funk, Soul, Pop, Jazz, Rock


Chaka Khan (born Yvette Marie Stevens, March 23, 1953) is an American singer-songwriter who gained fame in the 1970s as the front woman and focal point of the funk band Rufus. While still a member of the group in 1978, Khan embarked on a successful solo career. Her signature hits, both with Rufus and solo, include “Tell Me Something Good,” “Sweet Thing,” “Ain't Nobody,” “I'm Every Woman,” “I Feel for You” and “Through the Fire.”

In 1972 she joined the band Rufus, and in 1973, Rufus released their self-titled debut album. “Tell Me Something Good,” became the group's breakthrough hit, reaching #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart in 1974, later winning the group their first Grammy Award. The single's success and the subsequent follow-up, “You Got the Love,” which peaked at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 helped their second album, “Rags to Rufus,” go platinum, selling over one million copies.

Between 1974 and 1979, Rufus would release six platinum-selling albums including “Rufusized,” “Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan,” “Ask Rufus,” “Street Player” and “Masterjam.” Hits the group would score during this time included “Once You Get Started,” “Sweet Thing,” “Hollywood,” “At Midnight (My Love Will Lift You Up)” and “Do You Love What You Feel.”

In 1978, Warner Bros. Records released Khan's solo debut album, which featured the crossover disco hit, “I'm Every Woman.” The success of the single helped the album go platinum. In 1980 Khan released her second solo album, “Naughty.” The album yielded the minor disco hit “Clouds,” and went gold. Khan released two albums in 1981, the Rufus release, “Camouflage” and the solo album, “What Cha' Gonna Do for Me.” In 1982, Khan issued two more solo albums, the jazz-oriented “Echoes of an Era” and a more funk/pop-oriented self-titled album. The latter album's track, the jazz-inflected “Bebop Medley,” won Khan a Grammy.

In 1983, following the release of Rufus' final studio album, “Seal in Red,” which did not feature Khan, Rufus separated for good. In 1984, Khan released her sixth solo album, “I Feel for You,” which featured the title track. Khan's version, which included a guest appearance by Stevie Wonder and rapper Melle Mel, reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 in the United Kingdom. Other singles from the album included “This is my Night” and “Through the Fire” and all three singles helped the album to go platinum. Khan followed that success with albums such as 1986's “Destiny” and 1988's “C.K.”

In 2010, Khan contributed to vocals for Beverley Knight's “Soul Survivor,” collaborated with Clay Aiken on a song for the kids show “Phineas and Ferb, “and performed two songs with Japanese singer Ai on Ai's album “The Last Ai.”

To date, Chaka Khan has won 10 Grammy Awards, including two as a member of Rufus. She has received 22 Grammy Award nominations, including three as a member of Rufus. Khan continues to perform to packed audiences both in her native United States and overseas.