Chaka Khan is appearing at Club Skirts presentation of The Dinah Weekend, March 28th to April 1st, 2012, in Palm Springs, California. Considered the biggest lesbian event in the world, this oasis in the desert has been uniting thousands of women from around the globe in the common bond of life affirming celebration, one weekend a year for the past 22 years. Tickets and packages are still available. Visit

PALM SPRINGS, CA. ~ The ‘Queen of Funk’ performs at the largest lesbian event in the world, Club Skirts ~The Dinah Weekend 2012.

At the age of 59 and a musical career that spans 4 decades, this 10-time Grammy Award winning American singer-songwriter shows no signs of slowing down.

After declaring she was free from drugs and alcohol, and caring for family matters, Khan returned to the spotlight a few years back when she released what many critics called a “comeback album” with Funk This. The album featured the hit, “Angel,” and the Mary J. Blige duet, “Disrespectful.” The latter track went to number one on the dance singles chart in the US, winning the singers a Grammy Award, while Funk This also won a Grammy for Best R&B Album. The album was recognized for Khan’s covers of Dee Dee Warwick’s “Foolish Fool” and Prince’s “Sign ‘o the Times.”

In 2008, Khan hit the Broadway stage in the adaptation of The Color Purple. The following year, she went on the road with singers Anastacia and Lulu for Here Come the Girls. In 2010, she contributed vocals on “Soul Survivor” for Beverley Knight, and collaborated with Clay Aiken (of American Idol fame) on a song for the American animated television comedy musical, Phineas and Ferb, which originally broadcast on Disney Channel.

In May, 2011, Khan was honoured with a Hollywood Walk of Fame star.

I had the opportunity to catch up with Khan before her appearance at this year’s The Dinah.

PL: Past performers at Club Skirts have included The Pussy Cat Dolls, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga –How does it feel to be headlining the world’s biggest gathering of lesbians?

Khan: It’s fabulous! My gay and lesbian fans have always been there for me. They are my most loyal, and I promise them an awesome show! We’re going to have a wonderful time!

Your signature hit, “I’m Every Woman” is certainly the song for The Dinah – a message of empowerment for women….the girls will go crazy!

Khan: That’s what it’s all about… being empowered! And we are powerful, more than we know!

Countless numbers of drag queens have lip-synched to “I’m Every Woman” over the years, and you’ve supported various Pride events with your performances. How does it feel to be a gay icon?

Khan: It means a lot to me, because gays will read you! They know when you’re genuine and when you’re not.

You’ve won 10 Grammies, worked with music legends, such as Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, Mary J. Blige, and the list goes on… it seems like you’ve done it all! What has been your ultimate career achievement?

Khan: My ultimate career achievement to date, without a doubt, was working with Miles Davis.

In September 2011, you were nominated for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame… How did it feel?  

Khan: The nomination was a huge honour! It was a wonderful moment to share with my family and Stevie Wonder by my side. It left me speechless!

With all the changes in the music industry, and of course, the pervasiveness of the internet, do you find these changes have added to your career and longevity?

Khan: Technology has changed so much in the music industry. Ultimately, I believe that it helps because it allows greater access – both faster and more direct. I enjoy doing live chats with my fan-friends. I’ve said it before, I’m very optimistic about the changes in the recording industry, including music downloading. I’m glad things are shifting and artists – not labels – are having more control over their art.

In recent years, you’ve turned your attention towards The Chaka Khan Foundation. Tell me why creating this foundation was so close to your heart.

Khan: Well, it provides support and education to children and young adults who are victims of domestic violence, substance abuse and autism… issues that have been in my life. Empowering the innocent is my passion and purpose. Children and women at risk are who we assist through the foundation.

What can we look forward from Chaka Khan in 2012?

Khan: Well, the upcoming The Dinah Weekend for sure! I’m so looking forward to the event. And the rest… well, you’ll have to stay plugged into my website, There are surprises in store!

Published March 28th, 2012 Patricia Lever is an Ottawa-based radio announcer at 101.9 DAWG-FM, and freelance writer. Find her on Facebook and Twitter.