By Franklin Abbott
The Queen of Funk Chaka Khan is coming to Atlanta on Aug. 5. The ten time Grammy winner has sold an estimated 70 million records world wide. Since her debut with the group Rufus from 1973-1978 and her subsequent career as a solo artist, Chaka Khan has become an indelible part of popular culture. Her first big hit, “I’m Every Woman,” written by Ashford and Simpson, introduced her to the world of disco. “I Feel for You” by Prince was the title song of her sixth album and featured Stevie Wonder in a harmonica solo. Her signature wail is as widely known as her name.
She was born in Chicago and named Yvette Marie Stevens. She says her family was unconventional and describes her father as a beatnik. She was given her first name Chaka at age 13 by a Yoruba priest and her last name Khan comes from her first husband. She was drawn to the radical politics of the Black Panthers as a teenager and left high school early to pursue her career in music. After singing with various girl groups in Chicago she joined the funk band Rufus and released hits like “Ain’t Nobody” and “Tell Me Something Good.” As a solo artist she has performed music in many genres and collaborated with some of the finest musicians in the world including Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, and Steve Winwood to name a few.
Chaka Khan devotes much of her time and energy to her foundation, The Chaka Khan Foundation. The foundation supports a variety of progressive causes including a program that raises awareness and resources for autism, a program to help at risk children and teens fulfill their educational potential and a program to help mentor economically challenged women in New Orleans.
Khan will appear at the Cobb Energy Center on Friday, Aug. 5, and tickets are still available via Ticketmaster. She says of her upcoming show, “I am thrilled to be returning to the stage and honored that my first show back on the road will be in Atlanta. I look forward to reconnecting with my fans there!”
Franklin Abbott is a psychotherapist and writer living in Atlanta.