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Chaka Khan

Always an exciting performer, Chaka Khan has a powerful voice most often heard in R&B, though she is also capable of singing blues, jazz, hip-hop, funk, pop and even disco. Born Yvette Marie Stevens in Great Lakes, Ill., she grew up in Chicago. At 11, she formed her first band, the Crystallettes. While in high school, she joined the Afro-Arts Theater. She left high school at 16, changed her name to Chaka (Khan was the last name of her first husband) and joined the group Lyfe. She departed to join the equally short-lived band the Babysitters but had much better luck when she helped form Rufus. Rufus became one of the top funk groups of the 1970s, debuting in 1973 and recording six best-selling albums until Khan began her solo career in 1978. Among its hits were “Tell Me Something Good,” “Masterjam,” “Sweet Thing,” “Do You Love What You Feel” and “Once You Get Started.” Khan’s solo career started out steady, and she surprised many by recording jazz standards on Echoes of An Era with an all-star group that included Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson and Chick Corea. 1984’s “I Feel For You” was a major hit, her 1990 duet with Ray Charles on “I’ll Be Good To You” made the Top 20 pop charts, and Chaka Khan has remained a household name and a very popular attraction. She has written her autobiography, Chaka! Through the Fire, and her most recent recording is Funk This.