Chaka Khan Apologizes For Weighing In On 'Greatest Singers' List
Chaka Khan apologized this week for comments she made about other artists in her criticism of Rolling Stone’s recent list of “The 200 Greatest Singers of All Time.”
“Instead of questioning the need for such a list, I was pitted against other artists and I took the bait,” the 69-year-old singer wrote in an Instagram post. “As artists, we are unfairly put into ‘boxes’, ‘categories’ or on ‘lists.’ Being an artist or musician is not a competition. It’s a gift, for which I am truly grateful.
“It was not my intention to cause pain or upset anyone. To anyone that felt this way, I sincerely apologize.”
During a recent appearance on a podcast, Khan – who was ranked 29th on the Rolling Stone list – questioned Mariah Carey’s No. 5 position. “That must be payola or some s**t like that,” she said. As for Adele ranking 22nd, Khan quipped: “Okay, I quit.”
Learning that Mary J. Blige was at No. 25, Khan said the Rolling Stone editors “need hearing aids.”
In her statement, Khan insisted that “empowering all artists is most important because we truly are the architects of change...and change begins within the heart.”
The Rolling Stone list sparked passionate debate and widespread criticism when it was posted on New Year’s Day. Editors explained it listed the greatest singers, not the greatest voices. “Sure, many of the people here were born with massive pipes, perfect pitch, and boundless range. Others have rougher, stranger, or more delicate instruments,” they explained. “What mattered most to us was originality, influence, the depth of an artist’s catalogue, and the breadth of their musical legacy.
“A voice can be gorgeous like Mariah Carey’s, rugged like Toots Hibbert’s, understated like Willie Nelson’s, slippery and sumptuous like D’Angelo’s, or bracing like Bob Dylan’s. But in the end, the singers behind it are here for one reason: They can remake the world just by opening their mouths.”
Canada was represented on the list by Neil Young (No. 133), The Weeknd (No. 110), Leonard Cohen (No. 103) and Joni Mitchell (No. 50). Noticeably absent was Céline Dion, prompting a protest – staged for a Quebec talk show – outside the Rolling Stone office in New York City.
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