Cover image for Chaka! : through the fire
Chaka! : through the fire
Khan, Chaka.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
[Emmaus Pa.] : Rodale : Distributed to the book trade by St. Martin's Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
ix, 261 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Prelude -- Baby me -- Come 2 my house -- Destiny -- So naughty -- Street player -- Democrazy -- Dance wit me -- Rufusized -- Tell me something good -- Pack'd my bags -- Keep it coming -- Once you get started -- Have a good time -- Better days -- End of a love affair -- Papillon -- Love me still -- What am I missing? -- Stranger to love -- Masterjam -- Epiphany -- Coda.
Personal Subject:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML420.K3942 A3 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Rolling Stone compared it to melted caramel, and Miles Davis compared it to his horn.

Chaka Khan's scorchingly soulful voice first dazzled most of us back in 1974 with Rufus and "Tell Me Something Good," and most recently in her Grammy Award-winning performance in Standing in the Shadows of Motown , singing "What's Going On?" with the Funk Brothers. Over the years, she's had twelve number-one hits and nine number-one albums. Over one hundred appearances on the Billboard charts. Nineteen Grammy nominations and eight Grammy wins. Her achievements in the music industry are legendary, and like her twenty albums, they're well-known to the public.

But the private side of Chaka, the story of what fame and fortune have cost her-- and taught her-- hasn't been told before. In Chaka! Through the Fire , Chaka Khan gives us the whole story of the woman behind the diva and reveals her high and low points. A happy early childhood in a loving, creative home was shattered by escalating fights between her parents. When they finally split, Chaka's father disappeared without even a goodbye, leaving Chaka bewildered, bereft, and blaming her mother. She reconnected with her dad in her teens, finding that he was as liberal and permissive a parent as her mother was strict. Chaka started experimenting with drugs and joined the Black Panthers. Soon after, she fronted for a band called Rufus.

They hit it big with "Tell Me Something Good," and Chaka's stardom was launched. But life on the road was grueling, and as the years went by, the pressures grew. Chaka turned to alcohol and drugs to numb the pain of failed relationships, the guilt of leaving her kids to be raised by Grandma, the resentment she felt about the exhausting demands of her career. It wasn't until things got very bad that she started to see the patterns. All the things she had suffered through in her childhood and swore never to do to her kids-- well, she was doing them.

That's when she began the work of turning it all around. These days, she's still a musical powerhouse, but she's making sure there's time for family, too. She's drug-free. She's started her own record label and has also started a foundation to help women and children in need. Remarkably, Chaka has remained a true wild child despite all the changes: a fiercely independent woman who never compromised her spirit.

Author Notes

Tonya Bolden is the author of ten books, including "Strong Men Keep Coming", "The Family Heirloom Cookbook", & "33 Things Every Girl Should Know". She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Khan, winner of 18 Grammy Awards, recently turned 50 and now looks back on a musical career plagued by the excesses of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. She grew up in Chicago and was attracted to the entertainment scene and the radical politics of the Black Panthers. Strong-willed, Khan married early to gain independence from her mother and the freedom to pursue a career with Ask Rufus, the band that would give her her first real break. She went on to a successful solo career, a second failed marriage, several failed relationships, and virtual abandonment of her children to her mother. To escape the reality and stresses of her life, Kahn turned to alcohol and drugs. But intervention by her family sent Khan into recovery and reflection on a legendary career. Khan, whose music style has spanned rock, R & B, and jazz, recalls working with artists including Stevie Wonder, Prince, and Miles Davis. She brings the verve and vibrancy for which she is known to this memoir of her career. --Vanessa Bush Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Young enough to be Aretha Franklin's daughter and old enough to be Lil' Kim's mom, Chaka Khan-with her dynamic 1970s funk, her powerful vocals and her outrageous stage performances-is a link between Franklin's soul music and Kim's hip-hop. To celebrate her 50th birthday, Khan has written a breezy and entertaining autobiography whose structure seems to be modeled on Tina Turner's I, Tina: a young singer's almost chance selection to front an all-male band, years of bad romantic relationships and a final declaration of creative and personal independence. The trajectory of Khan's highly successful career, as she describes it, is as out of control as her feathers and sequins and the wacky funk that marked her early hits with the band Rufus, such as "Tell Me Something Good." To her credit she lets it all hang out, admitting, "About the only thing I'm certain of is that my life has been a series of `happenings' that have made me who I am." She candidly details her drinking, drugging, overspending and many marriages and affairs ("Chaka `United Nations' Khan. That's what some friends called me when it came to me and men"). These details may be of interest only to Khan and Rufus fans, but serious music readers will welcome Khan's first few chapters, which give a remarkably insightful view of the connections between political and music scenes in Khan's hometown, Chicago during the late 1960s and early 1970s. (Oct.) Forecast: Khan's autobiography will get lots of publicity since it is tied to a new album, tour and television special, but the hype may not result in sales beyond Khan's many loyal fans. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This year, soul/R&B/jazz/disco superstar Khan celebrates her 50th birthday and 30th year in the music business. In her hard-hitting memoir, her music takes a backseat to the story of her life: how she overcame drugs, failed marriages, drugs, failed relationships, a pap-driven music industry, and, yes, more drugs. Truly a survivor, Khan is currently involved in community projects through the foundation that bears her name, and her voice is as strong as ever. Through her narrative, she proves herself to be much more than the singer of "I Feel for You," her biggest hit back in 1984, or her earlier hits with the interracial, intergendered band Rufus. Readers looking for details of her recording career may be somewhat disappointed, but as a memoir of survival, this quick and satisfying read not only puts Khan's life in perspective but also inspires. Sure to be a hit with her many fans, this book will be released to coincide with her new album, a television special titled Chaka and Friends, and a Lifetime special. For public libraries with American pop music collections.-James E. Perone, Mount Union Coll., Alliance, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.