Chaka Khan may duet with the best of them, but there’s no, ah, doin’ it once the track has wrapped.
Interviewed by journalist Craig Seymour in 2004, who was working in Atlanta at the time for a paper called Creative Loafing, the funk queen dispelled longstanding rumors surrounding her 1974 collaboration with Stevie Wonder.
“So let’s go back to the heyday of Rufus,” Craig asked of the band she fronted from 1970 to 1983. “What was your favorite moment?”
“It probably was when Stevie Wonder came into the studio. We didn’t believe he was gonna show up. But he came, and that sorta rocked my world.
“We were brand new to the industry. And I’d grown up listening to Stevie, so I was a little bit star-struck.
“He came and offered two songs to us. The first one, I didn’t like it, and I told him,” continued Chaka, who has won 10 Grammy Awards.
“He said, ‘What’s your birth sign?’ I said, ‘Aries.’ He said, ‘Oh, I got something for you.’
“Then he played Tell Me Something Good. He started out, then we kind of wrote it together.”
That was when Craig, who’s author of the 2008 memoir, All I Could Bare: My Life in the Strip Clubs of Gay Washington, D.C., interjected:
“Someone was telling me when they heard I was about to interview you—they were like, ‘Well, I heard she and Stevie Wonder were lovers. And that’s why he wrote Tell Me Something Good.’”
“No, we weren’t lovers,” Chaka—who also collaborated with Grandmaster Melle Mel in 1984 on the Prince-penned hit I Feel for You—snapped back. “I sing with people. I don’t do other things with them.”
Later in the interview, Chaka dished about her drug use back in the day, telling Craig:
“Acid? Forget about it. And marijuana. I could never really get a handle on it. It made me feel really stupid.
“I like to feel in control. My whole purpose in induging [in drugs] was to transcend to another place. And to escape.
“There was a lot of drama goin’ on, and I was tryin’ to escape the bull- – - -.”
To hear Chaka’s full interview, click here.
To read about, and hear, Craig’s lost interview with Janet Jackson, click here.
To read about, and hear, Craig’s lost interview with Cher, click here.
To read about, and hear, Craig’s lost interview with Luther Vandross, click here.