CHAKA KHAN: Ready To 'Funk'

Posted Jun 22nd 2007 4:44PM by Karu F. Daniels
Filed under: Entertainment Newswire
By Karu F. Daniels, AOL Black Voices

Chaka Khan is still hot like fire.

The eight time Grammy Award winning R&B diva brought her soulful fury
into The Big Apple June 21 for an exclusive listening session for her
new album, titled 'Funk This,' at the Sony Music Studios.

The new album, produced by R&B superproducers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis
marks Khan's first full length studio effort (including new, unreleased
compositions) in over ten years. With covers of tracks popularized by
Prince ('Sign of the Times'), Dee Dee Warwick ('Foolish Fool'), Jimi
Hendrix ('Castle in the Sand') and her former band Rufus ('You Got the
Love'), 'Funk This' is well balanced with new and original compositions,
most notably the poignant 'Angel,' which is an entry from her diary.

Yesterday, she talked to a jam-packed studio audience about her
experience working with the four-time Grammy Award winning dynamic duo.

"I really enjoyed working with Jam and Lewis. They are not snobby, stuck
up guys. They are really real. And Terry would say you're not coming out
of the (booth) until I feel it."

Khan feels that this new opus, set for release via Burgundy Records/Sony
on Sept. 25, may remind people of my early Rufus albums because she's in
a similar "soul space."

"I've been on a little journey in the last few years, finding Yvette
again," she said. (Yvette Marie Stevens is the Chicago native's
birthname.) "I went through a period of being insecure," she added. "I'm
walking a different path now. I've changed. This album is different from
any other album I've recorded because it reflects what I'm about, who I
am now. The album is called, 'Funk This!' because it's funky!"

Speaking of funky, a lead single from the album is an original up-tempo
groove titled 'Disrespectful,' -- the tour-de-force duet with Queen of
Hip-hop/Soul Mary J. Blige.

While her and Blige didn't record the album together live, it's a
collaboration that will knock your socks off. "We're never together
anymore," she admitted of the recording process. "Mary, however, did
come back after I put my vocal on it, and put another vocal on because
... she had to," Khan quipped as the room busted out in laughter.
"That's my dog. She's my dog and I love her," she clarified, then
explained, "but there are times when you can't really distinguish which
one of us are singing, even to me."

"But what I'm dreading is singing that live because that's a lot of
screaming," she contemplated.

According to a Burgundy rep, various mixes of 'Disrespectful' will
surface within the coming weeks, as the label gears up for a full
fledged marketing blitz surrounding the yet to be determined first
single.

Khan, who appeared as an opening act for Jill Scott at Radio City Music
Hall last week, will also embark on a 'Funk This' around the time of the
album's release.