Chaka Khan: I have no regrets.

Chaka Khan: I have no regrets.

In the year 1984, the name Chaka Khan was playing non-stop worldwide.

The song “I Feel For You,” composed by Prince and featuring rapper Melle Mel, quickly became a hit. However, not everyone was a fan of the iconic intro, including Khan herself. She expressed embarrassment and discomfort at hearing her name repeatedly mentioned in the song.

Sanneh inquired if the introduction was expected to be as iconic as it turned out to be.

The official music video for “I Feel for You” by Chaka Khan, remastered in HD.Chaka Khan on

In the beginning of this month, Chaka Khan was honored at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn as she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. She sang at the event alongside fellow musicians Sia, H.E.R., and Common, but she is not currently interested in going on a tour.

Sanneh inquired, “Are you now able to pause and truly appreciate the fact that many people want to celebrate your achievements?”

“How about I take a moment to relax, watch some good movies, spend time with my grandchildren, and do some gardening?” she responded.

38th Annual Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony - Show

On November 3, 2023, Chaka Khan took to the stage at Barclays Center in Brooklyn for the 38th annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic via Getty Images

At 70 years old, she has certainly earned a break. She has created a lasting impact with a series of hugely successful songs, beginning in the 1970s with iconic tracks such as “Sweet Thing,” “Ain’t Nobody,” and “Tell Me Something Good,” written by Stevie Wonder.

Sanneh shared a well-known anecdote in which he describes how the person in question entered and announced, “I have a song that may interest you all.” He proceeded to play it, and you responded with your famous words…

“What else do you have?” she chuckled. “Yes, it’s only fair!”

It was discovered that he had an additional offering – a fresh tune that eventually became known as “Tell Me Something Good.” Even after fifty years, she continues to perform this song. She joked, “I’ll probably never stop singing this darn thing.”

“Share with me some positive news – the artist Rufus is featured on The Midnight Special.” by
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Yvette Marie Stevens was born in Chicago. When she was 13 years old, a Yoruba priest bestowed upon her an African name. “Chaka Adunne Aduffe Yumuya Hodarhi Karifi” was my new name. The surname “Khan” was derived from my first husband, who was from India,” she shared.

Sanneh remarked, “It complements each other nicely.”

“It is effective, surpassing Yvette Stevens!”

After becoming acquainted with Fred Hampton, one of the leaders, Khan joined the Black Panther Party and took on a warrior name. When questioned about what drew her to the movement, she expressed admiration for its accuracy, sincerity, and ability to convey truth.

Following a confrontation with law enforcement, she acquired a police officer’s firearm. “Mm-hmm. And I reached a conclusion. It only took me a moment. I disposed of it by throwing it into Botany’s Pond at Hyde Park!”

She made the choice to direct her attention towards music, performing as a vocalist for the funk group Rufus, and later as a solo artist. Her debut solo album, released in 1978, featured a track that went on to become a popular anthem: “I’m Every Woman.”

Sanneh stated that you were genuinely expressing to others, “This is my true identity.”

“That was the main idea conveyed in the song.”

The official music video for “I’m Every Woman” by Chaka Khan has been remastered in HD. by
Chaka Khan on

In the 1980s, Chaka Khan became widely known and her collaboration with Prince on the hit song “I Feel For You” brought them closer together. They bonded over shared interests and philosophical discussions, leading to a desire to collaborate.

In 1998, he assisted in writing and producing her album, “Come 2 My House.” The entire CD was completed in just two weeks. I would provide him with the lyrics and he would return the next night with the track. It was truly incredible.

“Have you ever worked in that manner previously?”

She exclaimed, “That was pure genius.”

In 2016, the musician Prince passed away at his residence in Minnesota due to an unintentional overdose of drugs.

Sanneh inquired if it was known that Prince faced difficulties towards the end of his life.

I did not. I was aware that he had suffered injuries to his hip and ankles. However, there was a time when I was heavily involved in drug use myself. One would think I would have noticed the signs. But I didn’t. He was a generous, affectionate, open individual who also valued his privacy. Unfortunately, I was completely unaware of his struggles.

Prince and the New Power Generation featuring Chaka Khan and Larry Graham Live Irving Plaza

On April 10, 1998, Prince and Chaka Khan, accompanied by the New Power Generation, gave a performance at Irving Plaza in New York City.

Bob Berg/Getty Images

Chaka Khan battled drug addiction for many years. In her 2003 autobiography “Chaka! Through the Fire,” she revealed, “Whenever I experienced emotions that I didn’t want to face, I turned to drugs.”

She chuckled, “That was one of the factors for my being high. At a certain point, I did enjoy it to some degree. It was a part of my life journey.”

Sanneh asked, “Despite that, were you still able to be highly productive and create a large amount of music, particularly exceptional music?”

“Yes, I was laughing hysterically!” she exclaimed. “How did I end up with two children?”

“Reflecting on your career spanning several decades, do you have any regrets?”

“I have no response,” she responded. “None.”


Chaka Khan, an inductee of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

CBS News

At present, Chaka Khan’s music is motivating a fresh audience of people who listen and perform. Following a car accident in 2002, Kanye West used a fast-paced version of Chaka Khan’s song “Through the Fire” in his own song, renaming it “Through the Wire.” This single was the catalyst for his success in the music industry.

Khan expressed that the song was deeply meaningful. He recounted receiving a call from the artist, who was still recovering from having his mouth wired shut. Despite hearing about the terrible accident, Khan eagerly agreed to be involved.

Sanneh inquired, “Do you place importance on the idea of new generations discovering your music and interpreting it in their own unique way?”

“Yes,” she responded. “That is my lasting impact. That is the reason I am present.”

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This story was created by Mary Raffalli and edited by Lauren Barnello.