Say the name "Chaka" and most folks in the know instantly think of a woman who has made an indelible and lasting impression on the music scene of the past three decades. First, as the lead singer of the massively successful R&B, funk and pop band Rufus, then as a solo artist in her own right who has influenced an entire generation of female vocalists (think Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu, Ledisi, Maysa among others). Like Aretha, like Joni, like Tina, a first name will do. For there's only one Chaka, woman of fire, possessed of a powerhouse, unforgettably distinctive trademark vocal style who sings with unrelenting passion, honest emotion and authenticity; no matter what the song, you can count on Chaka to deliver with realness, every time.
Growing up in Chicago during the 1950s and '60s, Chaka – born Yvette Marie Stevens – developed an early awareness of the creative and political movements around her. She formed her first singing group when she was 11 and joined the Black Panthers in her late teens, heading up their free breakfast program for kids. By age 20, she had found the perfect outlet for her creative energy as the singer for Rufus, and five years later, as a breakout solo artist. 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," Chaka 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.
A renowned proponent of 'old school' soul music, her energy, dynamism, and passion through live performances for over three decades, Chaka has brought her special brand of vocal magic to audiences the world over. Her prowess 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. Honored by BET with a much-deserved "Lifetime Achievement Award," Chaka's enduring spirit and passion for music and life have endeared her to music lovers the world over.