Chaka Khan says music is the world’s 'master communicator'

ITV News Entertainment Reporter Rishi Davda caught up with the "Queen of Funk", who gave 150 children a music lesson they'll never forget.

The ‘Queen of Funk’ is a rare breed, not just because she has 10 prestigious Grammy Awards to her name, but her music has stood the test of time.

Modern hits can quickly fall into obscurity, however, hits like ‘Ain’t Nobody’, I’m Every Woman’ and ‘I Feel for You’, have transcended generations and travelled worldwide.

The 71-year-old has had rhythm in her bones since a young age and sees huge importance in the arts during childhood.

Chaka Khan during her workshop at the Southbank Centre. Credit: ITV News

The singer has been curating this year’s Meltdown at London’s Southbank Centre, the UK’s longest-running artist-spearheaded festival.

As part of it, she led a special workshop, joining more than 150 local schoolchildren on stage to sing her songs.

Though many of the little ’uns may not have known exactly how famous she was, her singing session only enhanced their enthusiasm.

When asked about why music is so vital for youngsters, Khan told me: "I think the communication is what’s important. Music is a master communicator in every sense of the word.

"I think that all human beings get something from musical connection that they cannot get in any other way."

The workshop is a feature of a wider project at the Southbank Centre to encourage young people into music.

It hosts weekly sessions for 10-18-year-olds and a special choir has been formed for Meltdown of 18-25-year-old black and mixed-race women and non-binary singers.

The choir will perform alongside Chaka Khan at the closing show on June 23.

The singer wasn’t always a superstar and when she did rise to fame, she said it took "years to be able to comfortably talk to a big crowd."

"You just have to develop a way of dealing with that. I’m still not all the way there, I have good days and bad days…but there are certain tricks that I can apply," she added.

Chaka Khan told ITV News' Rishi Davda she considers music a "master communicator." Credit: ITV News

Khan is known for her vast vocal range and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame back in 2023.

She puts her success down to the incomparable "power of music."

"I never once thought I’d be sitting here saying that I’d done this for 50 years. But I don’t really have any expectations. Life is always different to what you expect."

The 29th edition of Meltdown is on at London’s Southbank Centre until Sunday 23rd June.

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