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Funk singer Chaka Khan was born and raised on Chicago’s Southside before joining the band Rufus. The group broke through with hit “Tell Me Something Good” and became a platinum selling act. Afterwards her solo career took off with such hits as “I Feel for You” and “Through the Fire.” She has won ten Grammy Awards, sold over 200 million records worldwide, and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last year along with earning a spot on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The “Queen of Funk” is bringing her act to one of the biggest female events in the country, Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend. We asked her about it and how she is every woman.
Jerry Nunn: Hello, Chaka. I just heard about you performing at this event. Past performers have included The Pussy Cat Dolls, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. How does it feel to be headlining the biggest lesbian event in the world?
Chaka Khan: It’s fabulous. My gay and lesbian fans have always been there for me. They are my most loyal. I know we’re going to have a wonderful time!
JN: What can audiences expect from the concert?
CK: I promise them an awesome show!
JN: “I’m Every Woman” is certainly the song for The Dinah. The girls will go crazy! It seems like the perfect match with a women empowerment message.
CK: Indeed, that’s what it’s about. We are powerful, more than we know…
JN: Countless numbers of drag queens have lip-synched to that song over the years, and you’ve performed at various Pride events. How does it feel to be a gay icon?
CK: It means a lot because gays will read you!
JN: Do you have a girl crush? And if so, who is it?
CK: Not at the moment!
JN: Of all the hits you have in your repertoire do you have a favorite one?
CK: “Ain’t Nobody.”
JN: You’ve received a nomination for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, is that the ultimate career achievement for you?
CK: My ultimate career achievement to date was working with Miles Davis. However, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nomination was a huge honor.
JN: You have worked with some great people like Miles and others like Stevie Wonder, Prince, and Quincy Jones, What was your thought when you first heard the now iconic “CHA-KA KHAN” rap by Mel Melle on “I Feel For You?”
CK: I was embarrassed!
JN: You recently performed in Chicago, How was it going back to your hometown?
CK: I always love going home. They always welcome me so warmly.
JN: Your De La Soul duet was amazing and so was your recent VH1 Diva’s Live performance with Mary J. Blige. Is there a current rapper or pop artist you would like to collaborate with?
CK: Amy Winehouse was my choice.
JN: That was such a shame as was the passing of Whitney Houston.
CK: I mean, I’ve cried for her, a lot over the years, so many times. In a way I’ve alredy mourned her, because I felt something was gonna happen because she was so close to the wire.
JN: Do you think it’s easier or harder for fans to find performers they like in the Internet age?
CK: Modern technology has changed so much in so many industries. Ultimately, I believe that it helps because it allows greater access, both faster and more direct. I enjoy doing live chats with my “friends.”
JN: The Chaka Khan Foundation provides help and education to children and young adults who are victims of domestic violence, substance abuse and autism. Please tell us why creating this foundation was so close to your heart.
CK: Because empowering the innocent is my passion and purpose. Children and women at risk are who we assist through The Chaka Khan Foundation.
JN: What are your upcoming projects in 2012?
CK: Surprise! Stay tuned to www.chakakhan.com.
Go “Through the Fire,” and head to Palm Springs, California on March 31. To purchase tickets and find more information at http://thedinah.com.