Chaka Khan has confirmed she voluntarily entered a residential drug rehabilitation program for an addiction to prescription painkillers. In an official press release, the award-winning singer said she was inspired to seek treatment following the loss of her dear friend Prince, who died from an accidental overdose of the opioid fentanyl. In her statement, Khan also confirmed she is struggling with “an addiction to the same medication.”
A native of Chicago, Illinois, Yvette Marie Stevens displayed a natural talent for singing at a young age. Inspired by Billie Holiday and Gladys Knight, Stevens formed her first band, the Crystalettes, with her sister Yvonne at the age of 11. Biography.com reports the sisters later went on to form the Shades of Black, which were regularly featured at the Affro-Arts Theater.
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In 1969, Yvette dropped out of high school and joined the Black Panther Party. Although she spent a majority of her time volunteering with the party’s children’s breakfast program, she continued performing with R&B and funk bands under the name Chaka Adunne Aduffe Yemoja Hodarhi Karifi.
In the early 1970s, Chaka joined the band Rufus, which released their first album in 1973.
One year later, the band released the critically acclaimed album Rags to Rufus, which featured “Tell Me Something Good.” The single, which was written by Stevie Wonder and performed by Chaka, sold more than a million copies. The song was also nominated for and won a Grammy Award for best R&B Performance by a Duo, Group, of Chorus.
Following the success of their Rags to Rufus album, the band changed their name to Rufus featuring Chaka Khan.
Rufus & Chaka performed together throughout the 1970s and early 1980s. However, Chaka Khan was also recognized as a talented solo artist. In 1984 and 1985, the singer won two Grammy awards for her solo work and two Grammy Awards for her work with Arid Mardin and Rufus.
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Throughout her career, Chaka Khan has received a total of 10 Grammy Awards, including the two she was awarded as a member of Rufus. She was also honored with two Soul Train Awards and a United Negro College Fund Award of Excellence. The singer was inducted into the Soul Music Hall of Fame in December 2012.
In her 2003 autobiography Chaka! Through the Fire, the singer detailed her struggles with drug addiction. In an interview following the release of her book, Chaka Khan blamed her demanding tour schedule, which often left her lonely and prevented her from spending time with her children.
One of Chaka’s most successful singles was “I Feel for You,” which was originally written and performed by Prince. Through the years, the performers became close friends.
As reported by BBC News, Prince’s unexpected death had a strong impact on Chaka Khan and her sister Yvonne, also known as Taka Boom, and inspired them to seek help for their own addictions to prescription painkillers.
“The tragic death of Prince has had us both rethinking and re-evaluating our lives and priorities. We knew it was time to take action to save our lives. My sister and I would like to thank everyone for their support, love and prayers.”
According to the singer’s official website, she and her sister voluntarily entered a residential drug rehabilitation facility in an effort to “get healthy and stay that way.”
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Although Chaka Khan’s July tour dates were postponed, she is expected to resume recording this week and return to the stage by August 1.
The 63-year-old singer acknowledged the postponed tour dates will disappoint her fans. However, Chaka Khan said she is confident her fans “would want [her] to recover and be well and healthy.”