Fresh from performing an early evening slot at Bestival’s main stage, Chaka Khan is relaxing with a cigarette outside her dressing room. The soul singer just delivered a feel-good performance, smashing out old hits like ‘I’m Every Woman’ and ‘Ain’t Nobody,’ alongside her new single ‘Like Sugar’ – her first new music in more than ten years, which she released in June. And, although she was hampered by the heat during her set (“the sun really, it affects everybody,” she tells NME), the star is looking chirpy and feeling optimistic about her comeback. So, what can we expect next from Khan? We caught up with the singer for a five-minute chat backstage.
You’ve just come off stage. How was your performance?
“The crowd was amazing. You know, I lived in London for like three years on the DL, but I must have made some friends because it’s a big deal. It’s a wonderful thing. I feel like I’m among family and friends.Great people. I just came from Ireland – and same – I mean, these are my people over here. You know. Bring me back next year, but bring me at night!
What can we expect from your new album?
“We’re feeding it like a slow drip… you know, every three months or two months, we’ll pick out another single. The next [single] will be called ‘Hello Happiness’… this time I went in with the intention of making sort of dance music with some great DJs…it’s another part of me.”
What inspired you to release this album?
“Yeah, other the need to make money to feed my kids [laughs]. But no. I’m just saying, I could very well just stop singing right now, I could, but it’s the Holy Spirit. That’s all I can say. It must be god. I mean I’m looking at my watch if I’m home for like a week, I’m like ‘don’t I have somewhere to be?’ It’s not over for me yet.”
Do you think you’ll release more albums?
“Yeah. Well, actually I have two more albums in the can. I took some time off at the beginning of this year and the end of last year, and went in the studio and just knocked some shit out. Some good stuff.
“I covered, did my favourite songs by Joni [Mitchell], we’re friends and I love her very much. I’ve been singing her since I started singing.”
What new artists have inspired you?
“Quite a few, I just can’t think of their frigging names… Bruno Mars!”
Is there anything else you want to say?
“Thank you everybody for remaining so faithful, [it’s] fantastic.”