Thursday, December 20, 2007

OST Artist Spotlight: Chaka Khan

It's time for the Old School Thursday!!!!!

Some people say I look like Chaka....What do you think?

Chaka Khan has always been one of my favorite singers. She's an Aries born a couple of days before me so I'm sure we share a lot of the same traits. When it comes to R&B, she is among the best that the genre has to offer. I have a nice long bio after the playlist so enjoy!

If you would like to hear each song in it's entirety...Click Here

Artist Spotlight: Chaka Khan

1.I Know You, I Live You - Chaka Khan
2.Papillon (A.K.A. Hot Butterfly) - Chaka Khan
3.Clouds - Chaka Khan
4.To Sir With Love ( Club Mix) - Chaka Khan
5.Love You all My Lifetime - Chaka Khan
6.I'm Every Woman - Chaka Khan
7.Do You Love What You Feel - Chaka Kahn - Rufus
8.Funkin' For Jamaica(Jamaica Funk) - Tom Browne
9.I Feel for You - Chaka Khan
10.Ain't Nobody - Chaka Khan With Rufus
11.Never Miss the Water - Chaka Khan
12.Fool's Paradise - Rufus & Chaka Khan
13.Any Love - Chaka Khan & Larry Levan
14.Disrespectful - Chaka Khan featuring Mary J Blige
15.All Good - De La Soul ft. Chaka Khan
16.Chaka Khan - Tell Me Something Good - Chaka Khan
17.It Ain't Easy Lovin' Me - Chaka Khan
18.Come 2 My House - Chaka Khan
19.Stop On By (You're Welcome) - Paul Young & Chaka Khan
20.The End of a Love Affair - Chaka Khan
21.Maybe I'm Amazed (Live!) - Chaka Khan
22.Got To Be There - Chaka Khan
23.sweet thing - chaka khan
24.Through The Fire - Chaka Khan
25.Love Me Still - Chaka Khan
26.My Funny Valentine - Chaka Khan
27.Secret Garden(Female Version) - Quincey Jone,Teena Marie,Patti La Bell,Regina Bell
28.Festa Brasilera - Chaka Khan & Ivan Lins


From the moment Chaka came on the music scene, as a member of the sophistofunk band Rufus, one of the first multi-racial pop/rock/soul bands, it was apparent that someone of vocal importance was emerging. Chaka was a new breed of singer -- self-taught and she bluntly ignored tradition. When it wasn't fashionable for singers to record their own background vocals, Khan made her own fashion statement and arranged her own -- laying down one track while assembling another -- competing with herself endlessly until all of her trademark vocals were seamlessly matched.

Chaka's unprecedented contralto and incalculable vocal range, originality and delivery (not to mention her sublime physical presence!), set new standards in the music world and in recent years, Chaka's style has been emulated by a legion of female singers. Although imitation is the sincerest form of flattery -- Chaka Khan is clearly in a class by herself. Her vocal style, identifiable in a flash, is a major force of nature in music, a sound like no other.

When Chaka first emerged, she was a young girl from Chicago with relentless enthusiasm and a God-given talent for singing. Born Yvette Marie Stevens on March 23, 1953, in the Chicago suburb of Great Lakes, she formed her first group, The Crystalettes, at the age of 11 and began her professional career at 15. While still in high school, she joined the Afro-Arts Theater, a group which toured with Motown great Mary Wells, and a few years later, while working on the Black Panthers' breakfast program, she adopted the name Chaka, which is African for "Woman of Fire". Her full African name is Chaka Adunne Aduffe Yemoja Hodarhi Karifi. She later acquired Khan from a brief marriage in her late teens.

After quitting school in 1969, Khan joined the group Lyfe, soon exiting to join another dance band, The Babysitters. She worked as a file clerk by day and sang in local clubs at night. At 18, she made her move to Los Angeles and hooked up with a group of fledgling musicians called Rufus. Two years later, in 1973, their self-titled debut album "Rufus" was released. Their second album "Rags To Rufus" (1974) contained the Grammy award winning classic "Tell Me Something Good", and all of a sudden they found themselves being the name on everybody's lips. Chaka had set out to become a singer and instantly became a star.

In the years to come, Rufus and Chaka Khan would prove to be one of the most influential pop, rock, funk and R&B groups around and the central reason was Khan's amazing vocal talents and electrifying stage presence. With a string of classic gold and platinum albums like "Rufusized", "Ask Rufus", "Street Player" and "Masterjam", the band endured as one of music's most popular and successful groups of the seventies. In 1978, Chaka made her solo album debut and had an instant hit with "I'm Every Woman", penned by Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson. She was now a star in her own right and enjoyed great success with her following albums "Naughty" (1980), "What Cha' Gonna Do For Me" (1981) and "Chaka Khan" (1982).

Chaka would continue to record three more albums with Rufus but it was inevitable that she eventually would step out her own. In 1983, she left the group for good. And after Chaka -- there was no more Rufus. They said "thank you and goodbye" with one of the best live albums ever released -- "Live: Stompin At The Savoy". The album produced the immortal Grammy winning single "Ain't Nobody", which turned out to be one of their biggest hits and a song that, maybe more than any other, defines the inimitable vocal style of Chaka Khan.

Chaka Khan is among the few singers who have left a group and continued to reap ever greater success. Album after album has produced Top Ten hits including "I'm Every Woman", "This Is My Night", "Got To Be There", "What Cha' Gonna Do For Me", and her biggest hit "I Feel For You" -- the rap-tinged Prince classic which scored on the charts in 1984 and earned her a Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Female Vocalist.

Chaka has always delighted in working with an outstanding array of talented contemporaries across genres. She has contributed to more than 70 different albums, working with artists as diverse as David Bowie, Quincy Jones, The Manhattan Transfer, Lenny White, Joe Henderson, Eric Clapton, Gladys Knight, Stephen Bishop, Guru, Joni Mitchell and Brandy. On her own recordings, she's hosted guests like The Artist, Miles Davis, Bobby McFerrin, Larry Graham, Queen Latifah, Dizzy Gillespie, Me'Shell Ndegecello and the guys of Toto.

Always searching for ways to execute her originality and inspiration, Chaka recorded a jazz album, "Echoes Of An Era" (1982). This album ran the gamut of musical moods that served notice of a creative giant step for the richly talented and dynamic singer.

1983 saw Khan return to Rufus to record her last contractually obligated album Stompin' At The Savoy: Live. The double album contained live versions of Rufus classics, Khan's solo hits and a handful of newly recorded tracks. One of these was the hit "Ain't Nobody," which returned Khan to the top of the urban and top 40 charts (#22 Pop). To make room for the new studio tracks, Warner Brothers omitted live versions of "Everlasting Love" (which was released on the rare 1983 soundtrack to Night Shift), "The Best Of Your Heart" and "Hollywood".

Her pop career was on shaky ground when she released 1984's I Feel For You, a platinum-seller launched by its title cut, a Grammy Award-winning, hip hop-based rendition of a fairly obscure Prince album track with a cameo appearance by Stevie Wonder on harmonica and rap by Melle Mel, which launched her recording career back into full gear. Produced by David Foster, the popular ballad "Through the Fire" also reached the R&B top ten, setting a record (since broken) for spending the most consecutive weeks on the Billboard R&B chart, made #60 Pop during a 19-week run on the Hot 100, and crossed over to the adult contemporary chart. ("Through the Fire" has since been sampled by Kanye West for his hit single "Through The Wire".) Chaka also recorded "Krush Groove (Can't Stop The Street)" for the movie Krush Groove in 1985. In 1986, she would provide co-lead and background vocals for Steve Winwood's #1 hit, "Higher Love". In 1995 Chaka teamed up with rapper Guru, on his solo jazz/hip hop fusion collection Jazzmatazz, Vol. 2: The New Reality for the track "Watch What You Saying" which reached Billboard's chart at #13.

Still, while subsequent LPs like 1986's Destiny and 1988's C.K. kept Khan high on the R&B charts, her standing in pop's mainstream again began to wane, and by the end of the 1980s she had moved to Europe. Not forgotten back in America, in 1990, she won another Grammy for "I'll Be Good To You," a duet with Ray Charles and another #1 R&B and Top 20 Pop hit.

In 1992, Khan released her album The Woman I Am, for which she received a Grammy Award for best Rhythm & Blues vocal performance. The album's hit single "Love You All My Lifetime" was penned by German songwriter duo Irmgard Klarmann and Felix Weber a.k.a. Klarmann/Weber and was produced by David Gamson. According to the Chaka's World Website, Khan recorded a follow up album Dare You To Love Me which was to be released in 1995. Warner Brothers shelved the project (although several of the tracks appeared on a career retrospective titled Epiphany: The Very Best of Chaka Khan and soundtracks such as To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar and Waiting to Exhale (singing the standard "My Funny Valentine").

Khan soon left Warner Brothers for what she felt was a lack of promotion and after the label had decided to release the Epiphany compilation instead of Dare You To Love Me in its true form.Prince (who also feuded with the company) assisted Khan in leaving Warner Brothers. Khan eventually made a special agreement with "The Artist" (who was then only formerly known as Prince), and recorded her next album on his New Power Generation label.

The Prince-produced Come 2 My House appeared in 1998 and went gold despite little promotion. Khan also appeared on new CDs by Prince and Larry Graham for the New Power Generation Label, and she toured in support for the projects.

Although she sang at both the 2000 Democratic and Republican conventions, Khan says that she is more of a "Democratic-minded person".

In 2001, Khan sang on De La Soul's hit song "All Good?". In 2002 she was an integral part of the documentary about Motown studio musicians The Funk Brothers, Standing In The Shadows Of Motown, which she performed the classic R&B songs "What's Going On?" and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" (a duet with Montell Jordan). She won her 8th Grammy Award for this latter performance.

In October 2004, Khan released her cover album ClassiKhan by her own label Earth Song Records and Sanctuary Records. An album of standards featuring the London Symphony Orchestra and recorded primarily at Abbey Road Studios in London. The entire album was produced by Eve Nelson of Nelson-O'Reilly Productions.

On December 3, 2004, she received an honorary doctorate degree from Berklee College of Music. She is also active in the autism community, as she has family members who have been diagnosed with this condition. Her EarthSong Entertainment and Chaka Khan Foundation operate from Beverly Hills, California.

In early 2006, she signed with Sony BMG's new label Burgundy Records.

Embracing Christianity, Khan participated in a live all-star gospel concert recording for artist Richard Smallwood's new album Journey: Live In New York. Khan is featured on the song "Oh, How Precious." On her official website, Khan credits singer Karen Clark Sheard with being "the voice that helped me find the Holy Ghost". Khan performed a cover version of Sheard's "A Secret Place" along with Richard Smallwood on TBN's show Praise The Lord in October 2006.

In December 2006, Chaka recorded "Do You Hear What I Hear" on the Christmas compilation Breaking For the Holidays produced by Eve Nelson (who also produced Classikhan). The album also featured Vonzell Solomon, Sandra Bernhard, Ben Jelen and many more.

On February 11, 2007, Khan headlined and performed at the NARAS 2007 Grammy Award official post party held immediately after the event.

Her new album, Funk This, is a mix of cover songs and original material. Produced by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and James "Big Jim" Wright, the album was released on September 25, 2007, debuting at #15 on the Top 200 Album Chart and at #5 on the R&B Album Chart, selling 39,000 copies in its first week. This is also her highest chart position since her first solo album in 1978 peaked at #12. "Angel," the first single off the album, reached #29 and went on become her first R&B hit in nearly fifteen years.

On the Today Show on September 26, 2007, it was announced that she would play Sophia in a stage production of The Color Purple with BeBe Wimans as Mister. She also performed "Angel".

Heavily involved in charitable work, Chaka Khan has established The Chaka Khan Foundation to assist drug and alcohol treatment and/or services for women and their children, to support battered women and those with HIV. Says Chaka: "It's time to build up and time to give back." Her life harmonious and focused, Khan is just as likely to be at a 1PM board meeting about her foundation and starring at a sold out 10PM concert.

Like any other singer, Chaka Khan has been given several more or less fitting nicknames. But no, she's not the Queen of Soul, not the Godmother of R&B nor the Grand Lady of Funk. Yes, she may me divalicious -- but she's not a soul or disco diva. Chaka has perfected a style, a sizzling stage presence and intimacy with her adoring fans that keeps them stuck like glue. The New York Times once wrote: "Chaka Khan's singing is extraordinary. She can coo with a girlish sweetness, cut to the bone with a nasal Dinah Washington, turn, whisper a breathy invitation or proclaim high-flying jubilation." In New York Newsday, the words were equally flattering: "Her huge voice refuses to acknowledge any state other than sheer ecstasy."

DJ Diva salutes Chaka Khan!


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