Songwriter Valerie Simpson presents the story of Chaka Khan, the multi-Grammy Award winning American singer who's been in the music business for five decades and is still going strong.
In this the first of a two-part profile, Chaka talks candidly about her life and music, growing up in Chicago with her two sisters - Taka and Tammy, who also contribute - and their rebellious teenage years.
We hear about Chaka's involvement in the Black Panther movement and her nights as a $50 singer in raucous nightclubs, until she joined the band Rufus and the hits came along. Amazingly fortuitous meetings with the great Stevie Wonder and Quincy Jones helped her career along. Then came her work with record producer Arif Mardin, who steered her into a solo career, and the classic hits that we all know and love today.
Contributors include Chaka's friend Brenda Russell, music producer Russ Titelman, and contemporary artists who have been inspired by Chaka including Beverley Knight, Lalah Hathaway and Bluey from the band Incognito.
Valerie and her late husband Nick Ashford wrote the song I'm Every Woman especially for Chaka back in the 70s, as well as several songs for the band Rufus. Initially a writing and production team, the two went on to be popular performers in their own right and enjoyed a hit with Solid (As A Rock).
Valerie Simpson tells the story of the multi-Grammy Award winning American singer.
In the second part of the Chaka Khan story, songwriter Valerie Simpson celebrates the dynamic live performer who has the ability to sing in many different musical genres. She also looks at Chaka's continues success as a solo artist.
Over the years Chaka has collaborated with various artists from hip hop to rock, and from jazz to gospel. She has worked with some of the greats including Miles Davis, George Benson, Prince and the Funk Brothers. She has also appeared in musical theatre and, a few years ago. went on the road with Lulu and Anastacia for the Here Come the Girls shows.
Chaka talks openly about overcoming her addictions and what she's doing musically at present. There are also contributions from Mary J Blige, Kelly Rowland and Chaka's sisters Taka and Tammy.
Songwriter Valerie Simpson celebrates the dynamic performer who enjoys continued success.