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Chaka Khan (born Yvette Marie Stevens; March 23, 1953), frequently known as the "Queen of Funk-Soul", is a 10-time Grammy Award winning American singer-songwriter who gained fame in the 1970s as the frontwoman and focal point of the funk band Rufus.
While still a member of the group in 1978, Khan embarked on a successful solo career. Her signature hits, both with Rufus and as a solo performer, include "Tell Me Something Good", "Sweet Thing" which she wrote for her then husband Richard Holland, "Ain't Nobody", "I'm Every Woman", "I Feel for You" and "Through the Fire". Khan was born Yvette Marie Stevens in Chicago, Illinois. Raised in Chicago's rough South Side housing projects, Khan is the eldest of five children to Charles Stevens and Sandra Coleman. Her sister Yvonne Stevens later became a successful musician in her own right under the name Taka Boom. Her only brother Mark Stevens, who formed the funk group Aurra, also became a successful musician. She has two other sisters, Kathleen Burrell and Tammy McCrary, who is her current manager. Unlike many of her musical contemporaries, Khan was raised as Roman Catholic. Khan attributed her love of music to her grandmother, who introduced her to jazz music as a child. Khan became a fan of R&B music as a preteen and at eleven formed her first all-female singing group the Crystalettes, which also included her sister Taka. In the late 1960s, Khan and her sister formed the vocal group Shades of Black and joined the Black Panther Party after befriending fellow member, activist and Chicago native Fred Hampton in 1967. While a member, she was given a name change to Chaka Adunne Aduffe Hodarhi Karifi by an African shaman. In 1969, she left the Panthers, dropped out of high school, having attended Calumet High School and Kenwood High School (now Kenwood Academy), and began to perform in small groups around the Chicago area, first performing with the group Lyfe, which included her then boyfriend Hassan Khan, whom she'd later marry. Khan was asked to replace the late Baby Huey of Baby Huey & the Babysitters after Huey's untimely death, in 1970. The group disbanded a year later. While performing in local bands in 1972, Khan was spotted by two members of a new group simply called Rufus and soon won her position in the group. The group later signed with ABC Records in 1973. Prior to Khan signing with the label, she married her on-again, off-again boyfriend Hassan Khan, changing her stage name to Chaka Khan.Wide ThumbClearartFanartBanner User Comments