Meet Chaka Khan: Getting to grips with the I'm Every Woman icon
What’s On previews Masterjam NYE this New Years Eve in Dubai. Here, we’ve spoken with Chaka Khan, one of the stars set for Dubai Media City.
With a career that spans over four decades and huge girl power anthems like ‘I’m Every Women’ and ‘Ain’t Nobody’, you can bet that this 61-year-old music icon has had a captivating past. What’s On chats to the lady herself ahead of her Masterjam set.
Hi Chaka! We’re so excited to have you in Dubai. What can you expect from your show at Masterjam NYE?
You can expect a damn good concert. I’m bringing the talented Incognito too – we’ve worked a lot together.
Have you been to Dubai before?
I was here in the 90s doing a concert on the beach with the wind blowing. It was very nice.
Anything you’re looking forward to seeing?
I’d have to look into it a see. I like the low-key end of things so a chance to see the local culture would be nice.
You have a beautiful name. Was your mother a genius and knew you’d be in showbiz or was this a name you grew into?
My Christian name is Yvette Marie Stevens. After joining the Afro-Arts theatre group at high school I adopted a shortened version of an African name I’d been given by a baba during a naming ceremony (Chaka Adunne Aduffe Yemoja Hodarhi Karifi). I then became Chaka Khan after marrying an Indian fellow, Hassan Khan, in 1970.
Tell us about one of the charities you founded?
I have many. One is an educational programme. The Chaka Believes Initiative helps underprivileged children stay in school by supporting them with funding and tutoring.
I read you’re a fan of Lindsay Lohan is that true?
A fan? No, I’m not a fan, I’m just not on the lets-beat-up-Lindsay-Lohan group. I met her and I found her intelligent and a sweet person. She has flaws like everybody but I liked her when I met her.
You performed on Broadway, what was that like?
Yes, I performed on Broadway in 2008 I was Sofia in the Broadway version of The Colour Purple. I also performed in the West End in Mama I Want To Sing and won an award.
Your music has been sampled by some of the biggest musicians today including Eminem, LL Cool J and Kayne West, how does that make you feel?
I’m very honoured when someone covers one of my songs. It’s a real honour.
Are there any songs you’re bored of singing?
Sure. I mean, some of my songs I’ve be singing for 40 plus years. You can imagine that there are some songs that I don’t even know I’m singing when I’m singing them. But I have incorporated songs in my show that I love to sing. And you’ll be able to hear all that on New Year’s Eve…
Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, Dubai Media City, Dubai, 6pm to 2am, Dhs295. Tel: (04) 5516708. Metro: Nakheel. masterjam.ae