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.