Chaka Khan blooms again
Singer set to release new album after 12- year hiatus
PASADENA, Calif. — If Chaka Khan were a flower, she’d be a perennial.
“Because I go dormant and then I ...” Khan stops and gracefully lifts her arms together, then slowly brings her hands apart, like a tulip emerging in spring.
“I’ve done it many, many times,” explained the singer, perhaps best known for her multimillion selling 1984 cover of Prince’s I Feel For You.
On the brink of her first new album in a decade, and, on New Year’s Day having served as grand marshal at the Rose Parade, Chaka Khan is in bloom again.
After receiving the call from the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association, the term “grand marshal” had the 65- year- old Khan’s mind running wild.
“I’ll tell you what I visualized,” Khan said. “I imagined myself with a baton, marching in the front. ‘ I’m leading the whole parade.’ That’s what I thought.”
Not even close.
Instead, Khan was seated on a comfy bench in the backseat of a classic convertible, which slowly made its way past the thousands along the nine- kilometre parade route. ( Millions more will have watched on TV.)
“This is all new for me,” the 65- year- old Khan said. “I love challenges. And I love new stuff.”
Khan opened parade festivities with a performance. Publicists were unable to confirm whether the grand marshal- performer dou- ble duty is a Rose Parade first, but they did note it was the first time in recent memory. Khan sang two songs: I Feel for You, as well as Hello Happiness, the second single from the new album.
The new song is not a political statement — unless you want it to be. “I think we need a shot of just not taking the little things so seriously,” Khan said of the lyrics. “Little things are important. It’s about the little things, but just flow.”
The new album, expected by the end of 2019, is her first since the well- received 2007 Funk This.
So, why take such a long break between the two releases?
Khan said she never stopped recording from 2008 to 2018 — she simply stopped releasing material. She also took care of herself physically and made up for all those lonely years on the road by spending time with family and friends.
She also needed time to pull herself together after the April 2016 passing of old friend Prince, who died of a drug overdose. About six months later, Khan entered rehab to deal with her own prescriptiondrug addiction.
“You cover up and rethink your whole life,” said Khan, born Yvette Marie Stevens. “You’ve got to rethink yourself.”
At last, for Khan, it is time to bloom again. And this parade, with its roses in winter, seemed the perfect place for a perennial to make her return.
Khan even had her regal wave ready the masses.
“It’s just that,” she said, raising her arm, cupping her hand and moving it back and forth ever so slightly. “You use as little energy as necessary. You know, the Queen is very stingy with her energy.”
Singer Chaka Khan.