Perseverence: Chaka Khan
Yvette Marie “Chaka Khan” Stevens was born on March 23, 1953 to Charles Stevens and Sandra Coleman in Chicago, Illinois. She was introduced to jazz much as child by her grandmother, and later became interested in R&B as teenager.
She joined the artist side at age eleven by forming a girl group, the Crystalettes with her sister Taka Boom.
Wanting to remain civilly active, Chaka Khan, joined the Black Panther Party as an activist and strong supprter.
During her younger years, she joined and left several groups such as Lyfe, and Rufus. While in Rufus, she was asked to become and Ikette by Ike Turner, which she declined.
In 1973, Rufus released their debut album. It contained a remake of Maybe Your Baby by Stevie Wonder and Whoever’s Thrilling You (Is Killing Me), however it failed to chart like they had hoped.
This led to the motivation of Stevie Wonder and the grouper the son Tell Me Something Good which had amazing success.
The song reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1974, helping them to win their first Grammy.
Tell Me Something Good and You Got The Love caused Rags to Rufus, their second album, go platinum and sell over a million copies.
They continued to have excellent success with six platinum albums.
In 1978, Chaka Khan signed a sole contract with Warner Bros. Records, while simultaneously released three albums in 1979, 1980 and 1983.
Her first year signed, she released her solo debut album with the all-time favorite I’m Every Woman, This hit helped her album go platinum and sell over one million copies.
In 1984, she released her sixth album I Feel For You, which kept the momentum going, selling over one million copies, featuring artists such as Stevie Wonder and Grandmaster Melle Mel.
In 1998, she moved to Prime’s label, NPG Records, which led her to do a tour with Prince.
Currently, she has been racking up awards such as induction into Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and receiving an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music.
Chaka Khan is truly among the legends of the Funk and R&B genres. With her scintillating and powerful voice, she has set the bar for artists who have come after her. Her stage presence and imacculent stage fashion sense are remarkable. She continues to perform today, and has a released a single, Like Sugar, in conjunction with Switch from Major Lazer. She emulates perseveraence through her decades of work.