Chaka Khan Biography

Chaka Khan, also popularly known as the Queen of Funk, is an American recording artist. Check out this biography to know about her childhood, family life, achievements and fun facts about her life.

Quick Facts

Birthday: March 23, 1953

Nationality: American

Famous: African Americans Black Female Singers

Sun Sign: Aries

Age: 65 Years, 65 Year Old Females

Also Known As: Yvette Marie Stevens

Born in: Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois

Famous as: Singer

Height: 1.62 m

Spouse/Ex-: Doug Rasheed, Hassan Khan, Richard Holland

father: Charles Stevens

mother: Sandra Coleman

siblings: Kathleen Burrell, Mark Stevens, Tammy McCrary, Yvonne Stevens

children: Damien Holland, Milini Khan

religion: Scientology

City, States, Provinces & Districts: Illinois

More Facts

education: Berklee College of Music

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Chaka Khan, also popularly known as the Queen of Funk, is an American recording artist. In her career, which has spanned more than five decades, she has won a total of ten Grammys. She has also been named the 65th most successful dance artist of all time by Billboard magazine. Born in Chicago, Illinois, she was introduced to jazz by her grandmother at an early age. Early in her career, she performed with various bands. Later she joined a group named Rufus. At the age of twenty, she released her first album along with the group. The group won their first Grammy award a year later. A few years later she made her debut as a solo artist, and released her first self-titled album. She then released several other albums over the years, including 'Echoes of an Era', 'The Woman I Am' and 'Funk This'. Other than her contributions to music, she has also gained reputation for her charitable activities. She established the Chaka Khan Foundation to help children from poor families, as well as those suffering from autism. Khan is also an occasional actress. She played the role of Sister Carrie in the musical 'Mama, I Want to Sing.'

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Chaka Khan
Childhood & Early Life
  • Chaka Khan was born as Yvette Marie Stevens on March 23rd, 1953 in Chicago, Illinois. Her father’s name was Charles Stevens and her mother’s name was Sandra Coleman. She was raised in an island area named Hyde Park. She has four siblings, a brother Mark, and three sisters, Yvonne, Zaheva and Tammy.
  • She developed an interest in music at an early age after she was introduced to jazz by her grandmother. She also got involved in the civil rights movement as a youngster. Along with her stepmother, she joined the Black Panther party as well.
  • She attended Calumet High School and Kenwood High School. As a student she began performing music in small groups around the Chicago area. She performed for various local bands after she was spotted by a new group ‘Rufus’ in 1972.
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Career
  • The group ‘Rufus’ released their self-titled debut album in 1973. The album didn’t gain much attention. However, later the group released the song ‘Tell Me Something Good’ which became a huge hit, and reached third position on the US Hot 100. It also won the Group their first Grammy Award in 1974.
  • Slowly the band started gaining popularity and Khan became a star, mostly gaining attention because of her extraordinary vocals and unusual attire. Soon she made this decision to begin a solo career. She released her debut self-titled solo album in 1978, after signing a contract with Warner Bros.
  • The song ‘I'm Every Woman’ from the album was a huge hit. It stood at number 21 on the US Billboard Hot 100. The success of the single helped the album sell over a million copies. The song also earned her a Grammy nomination. She collaborated with Rufus again the following year, on the album ‘Masterjam.’
  • Her popularity grew over the next few years with successful albums such as ‘Echoes of An Era’ (1982), ‘I Feel for You’ (1984) and ‘Destiny’ (1986). Some of her most successful hits include ‘What Cha’ Gonna Do For Me’, ‘Got to Be There’, ‘It is My Party’, ‘Love You All My Lifetime’, and ‘You Can Make my Story Right’.
  • Chaka Khan won several Grammys for her songs such as ‘Ain’t Nobody’ (in collaboration with Rufus) and ‘Be Bop Medley’ (in collaboration with Arif Mardin). However, by the end of the 1990s, her popularity started fading as musical trends began to change.
  • In 1990, she collaborated with singing legend Ray Charles in ‘I’ll Be Good to You’. The song was a hit and won her another Grammy. Two years later, she released ‘The Woman I Am’. It was a huge commercial success and won her another Grammy award.
  • She released ‘Epiphany: The Best of Chaka Khan, Vol. 1’, in 1996. It was a compilation of some of her best works.
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  • She won the Grammy Award again in 2003, for the song ‘What’s Going On’, in which she collaborated with The Funk Brothers. She released another album the following year titled ‘ClassiKhan’.
  • In 2007, she released another Grammy winning album ‘Funk This’. The album’s single ‘Disrespectful’, in which she collaborated with Mary J. Blige, earned her another Grammy.
  • In the recent years Khan has not made too many appearances. In 2016, she returned with the single ‘I Love Myself’. The same year, she entered rehab, as she had been struggling with drug abuse for many years.
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Major Works
  • 'The Woman I Am’, one of Chaka Khan’s albums, is among her most significant works. The album included singles such as ‘Love You All My Lifetime’, ‘Facts of Love’, and ‘Be My Love’. The album was not just a commercial success, but it also won the ‘Grammy Award’ for Best R&B Female Vocal Performance. It received average reviews.
  • Chaka Khan gained huge popularity for the song ‘I Feel for You’. The song was originally written by the famed American singer Prince for his debut album. However, Khan’s version became the most successful and popular version. The song got her nominated for two Grammys, out of which she won one. Undoubtedly one of her most successful songs, it became a commercial hit and reached number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.
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Awards & Achievements
  • Chaka Khan has won ten Grammys in her career out of 22 nominations. These include the Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female for ‘The Woman I Am’ in 1993 and Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for ‘What's Going On’ (with The Funk Brothers) in 2003.
  • Other awards won by her include two ‘Soul Train Awards’ and the ‘United Negro College Fund Award’.
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Personal Life
  • In 1970, at the early age of 17, she got married to Hassan Khan. They divorced after a short time.
  • She then had a relationship with Rahsaan Morris, which resulted in the birth of her daughter Indira Milini. Later, she married Richard Holland in 1976 and had a son with him.
  • Khan has been struggling with drug abuse for a very long time. She adopted a vegan diet for health reasons.
  • She became involved in a controversy in 2006, after her son was accused of murder.
  • Khan is also known for her philanthropic activities. She founded the Chaka Khan Foundation to help autistic children, as well as children from families with low income.
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Awards

Grammy Awards
2008 Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group Winner
2008 Best R&B Album Winner

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How To Cite

Article Title
- Chaka Khan Biography
Author
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
Website
- TheFamousPeople.com
URL
https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/chaka-khan-10088.php
Last Updated
- October 04, 2017

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Chaka Khan