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Chaka Khan Talks Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Snubs & the ‘Ugly’ Industry

Chaka Khan opens up about the current state of the industry and why she’s not worried about the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Rotterdam, The Netherlands - 13-15 July 2018. North Sea Jazz Festival performance of Chaka Khan

Chaka Khan is gearing up for the release of her first album in 12 years,Hello Happiness. In a new interview with AARP, the funk icon confesses her distaste for what the music business has become.

“It’s a circus,” Khan says of the current state of the industry. “It’s very ugly because it’s based on competition. And art is not about competition. It causes a lot of grief and messed-up feelings between musicians and other artists. It’s not where I stand.”

Although today’s industry isn’t the “I Feel For You” singer’s cup of tea, there are young voices within R&B she fully supports, including Philly vocalist Jazmine Sullivan.

“I like Jazmine Sullivan. She’s an amazing artist. Emily King as well. They are two artists that are under-known, and based on the talent, they should be better known.”

Khan worked with rising producer Switch (Beyoncé, M.I.A.) after meeting him by chance. “I was in the studio, he was in the same studio doing something else.  And he said, ‘You need some tracks?’  And I said, ‘Sure.’”

Her former group, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, has been nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame three times, including last year, but so far has not inducted. The legendary singer, however, doesn’t seek its validation, saying, “I’m not singing to be in the Hall of Fame. I’m not going to let it take up a lot of my time.”

After over 40 years in the business, the 10-time Grammy winner says singing is still the only thing that truly keeps her on point.

“If I didn’t, I’d be unbalanced–more unbalanced than I am.  I know it would lead to nothing but ruin.  And so I surrender.  It keeps me stable, somewhat.”

Check out her latest single, “Like Sugar,” below.

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