- This is such an honor and a pleasure interviewing you are definitely
one of the people on the list that I said I must interview this person.
Chaka - Thank you.
Sheila - So Interpretations, the
project. I heard the album and I was just blown away.
Chaka - It is good. Isn't it? Everyone
did a good job. I think that Ledisi really did a great job.
Sheila - Whew, she killed it. She tore
that song up. I loved her and of course I loved you and I was really
taken by The Randy Watson Experience featuring Bilal who did "Can't Hide
Love". I was like, "Who are they?" No disrespect but I had never
heard of them before.
Yeah, they were pretty good. I know them and they are good.
Sheila - I noticed that you were the
only industry veteran included of your caliber. I mean, Angie Stone has
been around for years as well but ...
Chaka - I was the oldest person on the
Sheila - Now see, I wasn't gonna say
Chaka - Hey, it is
what it is.
Sheila - Were you surprised to be
Chaka - I would have
been surprised not to have been included. We all go back to
Sheila - I should have known that.
I ready your book.
Chaka - You
read my book?
Sheila - I sure did. I got home
with your book at around 4:00pm. I was done by 1:00am.
Chaka - Everyone says the same thing.
It's really an easy read.
Sheila - No, that's because we don't
want to put it down. It was such a great read. It's so inspirational.
I was like "Wow". In this story you are a heroine. You went down those
roads but look at where you are today and the lives that you have
changed in the process. I just think that you are phenomenal.
Chaka - I'm glad to be here to tell the
Sheila - Amen to that. What does it mean
to you to be included in a project like Interpretations?
Chaka - I'm really honored.
Maurice has contributed so much and this is our way of giving back to
him. His impact on music and this industry has been huge. Their music
has really inspired me as an artist.
- That's really interesting to hear you say that because you don't
really think about how artist
whom are pretty much peers would inspire one another. Would you
want an Interpretations project such as this one done of your music?
Chaka - Sure. I'd say, go for it.
Sheila - Who would you pick to be on it?
Chaka - Well I know I'd pick Ledisi but
that's a hard question because there is so much good talent out there
today. As with the EWF project the challenge comes in trying to make
that song your own.
Sheila - By the way, I love what you did
with RESPECT for the Aretha Franklin tribute. Not that I was surprised
because I know who you are but you are right in that there are times
when people remake someone's song and the magic is lost and then
there are some songs that just don't need to be remade.
Chaka - I absolutely agree. I have
people suggest to me all of the time that I should remake a song and I
tell them, 'Hey, that's been done already'.
- I noticed that with your jazz album, all of the songs still had your
special touch to it. It honored those songs but it had your
Chaka - That's the only way I can do it.
It has to be my way and I've been blessed to have the music in me
allowing me to do that.
Sheila - That's a gift.
Chaka - Yes, it really is.
Sheila - Its a great achievement for
Maurice White and the other EWF members to be celebrating 37 years of
history making music and the years alone are quite an accomplishment.
Chaka - Well, I dropped my first
project in 1973. It wasn't too long after them.
Sheila - What event would you say has
been your greatest accomplishment?
Chaka - Working with Miles Davis. That's
something that I'll always cherish. I guess right now it would be
working with Ramsey Lewis.
Sheila - Now I'm skipping ahead of my
questions but are you working on a project?
Chaka - Yeah, I'm in the studio right
Sheila - Wonderful. I would love to do
whatever I can to help with the promotions, not that you probably even
Chaka - Oh that would
be great. I appreciate that and I want you to call my office and
work that out.
Sheila - I sure will. I have to
tell you that I'm not musically inclined but I love the music and I do
what I do because I love the music.
Chaka - If it wasn't for you, what good
would I be? If it wasn't for people like you, where would the
artist be? It's those journalist like you and your willingness to
support our projects that helps us to get and stay where we are.
Sheila - Oh thank you so much for
saying that. I do what I do especially for veteran artist like
you. Your contribution to Interpretations is your giving thanks to
Maurice and EWF and my supporting projects like this is my thanks for
all of the contributions that you wonderful artist have made to music.
All to often I hear people complain about the music but it's those same
people that won't go out and purchase the music of those artist that
they claim they love so much.
Chaka - That's so true and I'm so
blessed, really to still be in the mix but that's why I can't listen to
Sheila - It's difficult. Really
it is but I say thank GOD for advances in technology because we don't
have to listen to the radio. We can research out our favorite
artist and purchase their music without having to wait for the radio to
play their songs. When I interviewed Alexander O'Neal, I asked him
to imagine how much farther his career would have been if he had been
privy to the technology that is out today and he said to me that in the
earlier days of his career, Black artist weren't even allowed to cross
Chaka - Now that's just too much to
even think about.
Sheila - Well with technology; for
example do you have a Myspace page?
Chaka - Yeah I do. I also have a
message board on my website and once a month, I go on and I chat
Sheila - REALLY?
Chaka - Yeah.
Sheila - Do they know it's you?
Chaka - Yep. I got my website
and I interact with my subscribers. The truth of the matter is
that I really don't have the time to be on there everyday. It
takes up so much time.
Sheila - Yes it does. I've had
conversations with some of my industry friends regarding how they can
use technology to their advantage. For example, many of them have
thousands of fans particularly on Myspace. That's technology at
its finest. Look at Prince. I tell you that man is the truth. He was the first to take full advantage of technology.
I swear, a college needs to have a Prince class and study this man
because he is so brilliant.
Chaka - Yes, he is the best. As
you know I've worked with him. I'm with you about technology. Very
soon I am going to be auctioning off those suede pants that I wore on
the Sweet Thing album. You know the ones I had on sitting on the
Sheila - Get outta here.
Chaka - No really, I am.
Sheila - Do you know that is my
favorite cover of yours? I love the whole suede with the feathers.
I always have.
Chaka - I recently ran into the guy
that designed and made that outfit. I was out in Chicago and we
hooked up. He made a lot of my outfits in those days and we talked
and decided that we were gonna do something together. We are going
to have a line.
Sheila - You most definitely should
because I love the leather pieces that you wear. They are always so
unique and I know that you've always worn leather.
Chaka - Thank you.
Sheila - Chaka, I can talk to you for
hours. I am really enjoying this conversation. I almost
forgot that I was conducting an interview but I don't want to take up
too much of your time. This has been so beautiful and I thank you
for taking the time to talk to me.
Sheila, anytime and I look forward to
talking to you again. GOD bless you.
Sheila - Same to you.
Visit Chaka Khan on her official
website at http://www.chakakhan.com
and stay tuned for her new project!