The singer Chaka Khan was born on March 23, 1953, in Great Lakes, Illinois. She achieved great success as part of the soul-funk band Rufus, including hits like “Tell Me Something Good” and “Sweet Thing.” Embarking on a solo career in the late ’70s with tunes like “I’m Every Woman,” “I Feel for You” and “Ain’t Nobody,” Chaka Khan has won many Grammys.
Chaka Khan was born Yvette Marie Stevens on March 23, 1953, in Chicago, Illinois. Known for her powerful voice, her great volume of curly hair, and her charismatic stage presence. Chaka Khan first hit the music scene in the 1970s. Forming her first group, the Crystalettes, with her sister Yvonne when she was only 11 years old.
Joining the Black Panther Party in 1969, becoming active in the black power movement, and working on the organization’s free breakfast program for children, she took on a new name: Chaka Adunne Aduffe Yemoja Hodarhi Karifi. She also said good-bye to her formal education, dropping out from high school.
In the early 1970s, after performing with a few other groups, Khan joined the band Rufus, which had a strong R&B and funk sound. The world got its first taste of Khan’s powerhouse vocals when the group released its first self-titled album in 1973, which spawned such modest hits as “Whoever’s Thrilling You” and “Feel Good.” The follow-up album, Rags to Rufus (1974), was a smash commercially and critically. Stevie Wonder penned the hit single, “Tell Me Something Good,” for them, which sold more than a million copies. The group also scored a Grammy Award for best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus for the song in 1974.
Rufus, which was renamed Rufus featuring Chaka Khan and then Rufus & Chaka, continued to have a number of successes over the coming years. Khan helped write their number one hit, “Sweet Thing,” climbed to the top of the charts in 1975. Later hits included “Do You Love What You Feel” and “Ain’t Nobody.”