Chaka Khan reflects on 50 years in music at Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame downtown hosted a music legend Wednesday, Chaka Khan, to celebrate her impact on the industry and 70th birthday.
The sold out event, An Evening with Chaka Khan, paid tribute to her over 50-year-long career.
Chaka sat down with the Rock Hall’s Director of Curatorial Operations and Artist Relations, Shelby Morrison, at a member-exclusive event to speak about her experiences in music so far.
Just before the interview, the hall unveiled some of Chaka’s iconic fashion looks as their newest addition to the Legends of Rock exhibit, including the gown she wore when she won the Best R&B Vocal Performance Grammy in 1985.
As Chaka made her way to the stage for the hour long Q&A, she was met with a standing ovation and presented with a platinum record for the single ”Ain’t Nobody,” sent by Warner Brothers.
She spoke about her experiences working with influential artists such as Prince, “it was magic” she said.
Chaka talked about every step in her career, from singing in Chicago clubs to now.
“When we got to the show we were nobodies, and we left with a record deal,” she said, reflecting on the night she was discovered by music executives.
From The Babysitters to Rufus to solo-Chaka, she has explored multiple genres, connecting with layers of herself and her spirituality.
She reflected on proud moments in her career; recording her own background vocals, writing with Stevie Wonder and rocking her cesarean scars on stage.
“If you don’t follow your calling, whatever it is, if it’s bowling or ice skating. If it’s a thing that rings your bell, then you have to find a way to do it. It’s not easy, and it never was, but you have to do it,” Chaka answered when an audience member asked for her advice on getting into music today.
Also on the stage were pieces of Chaka’s art, which can be found on her website.
Looking at these pieces, she spoke about the beauty she sees in each person. With her charity work shifting to focus on mental health, she said she looks to children for hope.
Chaka is a seven-time Rock Hall nominee, eligible for induction alongside Rufus since since 1998. She is a 10-time Grammy Award winner, releasing 22 albums and achieving numerous gold and platinum albums.
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