Chaka Khan Reflects On Illustrious Career, Bond With Prince Ahead Of Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction
Chaka Khan will (finally!) be enshrined in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Nov. 3. In an interview with the New York Post, the legendary singer discussed what led to her getting a start with Rufus, the 1970s funk/R&B band.
Khan detailed that the band’s lead singer, Paulette McWilliams, who Khan describes as a sister in Chicago’s scene at the time, left the group to go solo. That opened a door.
“When I started with Rufus, Paulette McWilliams had quit. She decided to quit and go solo in the business.”
Khan said her predecessor recommended her to the group.
“And I said, ‘Oh, this is my chance!’ because I really wanted to play with that band. I’d seen them a lot, and they’d seen me a lot. So I happily joined the group pretty quick.”
Eventually, Khan would go solo as well, but not before helping the group have lasting hits like “Sweet Thing” and “Tell Me Something Good” during her six-album run.
In 1978, Khan wrote and recorded the classic song, “I’m Every Woman,” the debut single from her debut album, Chaka. Khan is undoubtedly one of the most important and impactful women in the history of R&B and she will be recognized by her peers as she enters the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Khan told the Post that she’s keeping everything in perspective.
“I don’t live for prizes or trophies,” Khan said.
“That’s not why I do what I do. I do what I do because I have to, you know what I’m saying? God gave me this gift to use. It’s not a competition.”
“Tell Me Something Good” came about because Khan did not like a few songs that Stevie Wonder, arguably one of the greatest songwriters to ever live, had written for her. Khan actually asked for something else.
“And finally, he said to me, ‘What’s your birth sign?’ I said, ‘Aries.’ And he said, ‘Oh, I know the song for you!’” Khan recalled.
Prince and Khan shared a special bond. It was a cover of Prince’s 1979 song, “I Feel For You,” that propelled Khan to new heights.
“We both influenced each other’s careers,” she said.
“I influenced him while he was an up-and-coming artist; he used to tell me that all the time. And he influenced me. We fit musically very well. We did a great album together. We did that album in two weeks.”