Chaka Khan Brings Over 50 Years Of Hits To NPR Music’s ‘Tiny Desk Concert’ Series

Photo Credit: Zayrha Rodriguez

NPR Music is rolling out the red carpet for their Tiny Desk Concert series this Black Music Month and adorning it with flower petals to celebrate and showcase a few talented Black female artists. The series began with the Afrobeats-meets-R&B vibes of Tems whose episode was quickly followed by saxophone goddess Lakecia Benjamin and Philadelphia rapstress Tierra Whack. For the next installment of their Black Music Month programming, NPR decided to go legendary and invite the icon Chaka Khan.

The Queen Of Funk commemorated 50 years in music in 2023, and she is still in celebration mode and brought the party with her to Tiny Desk. Chaka set it off from the first song with a funkdafied live version of the Rufus classic “Tell Me Something Good.” This being her first time on Tiny Desk, she was surprised that it was a real-life tiny desk, but she loved the intimate setting and that the audience was close enough to see their expressions. We’re sure that Chaka saw more than a few stank faces of approval in the crowd throughout her performance.

- Advertisement -

Khan dipped back and forth between her solo jams and songs made with the group Rufus for the first half of her almost 35-minute session. She hit her signature side-to-side shimmy when belting out her 1981 single “What Cha’ Gonna Do For Me” from her album of the same name. Chaka took folks back to the 1970s with a smooth segue into Rufus’ “Stay” and the iconic entanglement anthem “Sweet Thing.” Before she could even sing a note, the audience turned into the Chaka Khan Mass Choir and sang the song to her. The 71-year-old songstress was visibly impressed by how good they sounded and touched by the moment.

Chaka next took Tiny Desk “Through The Fire” and took the song to church. She took a moment to introduce her band and trio of background singers – Trina Broussard, Audrey Wheeler-Downing and Tiffany Smith – who absolutely, positively slayed.

- Advertisement -

Queen Chaka ended her set with a double dose of divatude. The sexy septuagenarian got into the groove of “Ain’t Nobody,” and she was really feeling it and herself. She saved some energy to let all the way loose on her final song – the eternal classic “I’m Every Woman” – and reminded everyone that she is indeed every woman and a legend in every sense of the word.

- Advertisement -

You May Also Like