Is the Southbank ready for Chaka Khan?

And she never lost momentum. With all those floorfillers, she was one of the hardest-working musicians around, really putting in the yards for her Queen of Funk tag and those 10 Grammys. Having been active on the music scene since she was 17 — following a spell in the ranks of the Black Panthers (‘I almost forgot about that!’) — she was asked to join funk band Rufus in 1972. At the time she was approached by Ike Turner to become an Ikette (a chance she turned down, but a decade later she spent time in his studio; ‘I loved Tina!’ she says). Despite a bumpy start, the band were helped out by a certain Mr Wonder who wrote a number of songs for Chaka, including the band’s breakthrough ‘Tell Me Something Good’ in 1974. By 1978, with in-band politics proving stormy and interest in the frontwoman who also proved a dab hand at drums and bass, she’d inked a solo deal. ‘We became friends,’ she says. ‘Rufus toured with Stevie for nearly two years. We also toured with the Rolling Stones.’