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CHAKA KHAN FACTS:
Genre: R&B, Soul, Jazz, Disco
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Albums: Chaka (1978), Naughty (1980), What Cha' Gonna Do for Me (1981), Chaka Khan (1982), I Feel for You (1984), Destiny (1986), CK (1988), The Woman I Am (1992), Come 2 My House (1998), ClassiKhan (2004), Funk This (2007)
Awards: 10 Grammys
Hits: "I'm Every Woman", "What Cha' Gonna Do for Me", "I Feel for You", "Love You All My Lifetime"
Other: Originally with the band Rufus before going solo.

Chaka Khan was one of the most successful soul and R&B singers of the 1970s with a string of hits that inspired a whole new generation of artists. Born as Yvette Marie Stevens in 1954, the singer formed her first musical group with her sister Yvonne when she was only 11 years-old. In the early 1970s, Khan fronted the R&B group Rufus, which released a hit album in 1973 with radio hits like "Whoever's Thrilling You" and "Feel Good." While the band enjoyed modest airplay, it was Khan's strong vocal rhythms that stood out and helped the group gain prominence on the growing club music scene.

Khan's first big chart-topping hit with Rufus was the song that Stevie Wonder wrote for the band. "Tell Me Something Good" earned platinum status and helped the band achieve worldwide stardom. The group ended up winning a Grammy Award for best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus in 1974, and they helped lead the funk explosion of the late 1970s.

Over the course of the 1970s, Rufus would have another chart-topping hit with "Sweet Thing" in 1975 and a string of other successes. In 1978, Khan started her own solo career, and broke out with her first single "I'm Every Woman." While the song would become far more popular in the late '80s when Whitney Houston released a cover, it showed the depth and talent that Chaka Khan could bring to the pop charts.

Over the late 1970s and early '80s, Khan collaborated with various artists to provide backup vocals, but finally got her big solo hit in 1984. Her album, I Feel For You, and the self-titled first single featured Melle Mel and Stevie Wonder and helped her achieve platinum status. Khan kept her success going into the 1990s, when she won a Grammy Award for "I'll Be Good to You," a duet with Ray Charles.

Chaka Khan still has an active touring schedule and packs arenas all over the country. As one of the pioneers of American funk, Khan has helped to change the American music landscape and give hope and inspiration to a new generation of female singers embarking on solo careers or fronting bands of their own.

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12/19/2014 1:01:25 AM on TCWEB1