The Music of Chaka Khan

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You know the name the hair and smile but most of all you know the voice. Chaka Khan is a pioneer in the music world and others inspire to be like her. Chaka Khan was born March 23, 1953 as Yvette Marie Stevens in Chicago, Illinois at Great Lakes Naval Base Hospital. She stepped into the music world in the 1970s. Her first music group called the Crystalettes was formed when she was 11 with her sister Yvonne and two other girls from their neighborhood. The group was influenced by Khan’s musical inspirations Billie Holiday and Gladys knight. Later in the years the sisters joined the Affro-arts theatre, a group that toured with Motown legend Mary Wells. They started another group known as Shades of black while being with the theatre. In 1968, a Yoruba priest renames her Chaka Adunne Aduffe Yemoja Hodarhi Karifi and her sister is renamed Taka Boom. In 1969, Khan became very active in the black power movement by joining the Black Panther party. She worked on the organization’s free breakfast program for children. She drops out of school and she sings with the groups Lyfe, Lock & Chain, and Huey & The Babysitters. Finally she joins the band Ask Rufus whose name is taken from a fishing magazine column. The band is discovered by producer Bob Monaco while he was scouting groups at a Chicago club. She became Chaka Khan when she married bassist Hassan Khan in 1970. After hearing Chaka sing, Monaco proclaims “I thought I’d heard the next Aretha Franklin or coming of Christ. She

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