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14 October 2023

Chaka Khan On New Bombay Bicycle Club Collaboration

Chaka Khan
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Chaka Khan has spoken about collaborating with British indie act Bombay Bicycle Club on their new track Tekken 2.

“I really liked the song,” Khan told The Guardian, “and the message was right up my alley, in line with my philosophy.”

According to Bombay Bicycle Club singer Jack Steadman, the somewhat unlikely musical meeting of minds came about thanks to Damon Albarn, who also sings on a track on the band’s upcoming sixth album, My Big Day.

Steadman explained that he told Albarn he was struggling with Tekken 2, saying that he, “just wasn’t nailing it. I asked him: ‘Can you think of anyone who would be amazing? And he surprised me by saying: ‘Just ask Chaka Khan.’… On the way home I thought: ‘What have we got to lose by asking?’”

“It was incredible when she said yes,” said Steadman. “Such an honour. We couldn’t believe it.”

Khan went on to remember how she got spotted back in the early 70s, “You’re on the stage, someone recognises your talent. It was just like in the movies. I don’t know if people get discovered that way any more.”

“When I joined Rufus, I was the only black person in the band,” Khan remembers, “but then three members quit and the new members were black. We did a show in Illinois and the club owner went: ‘That’s not who I saw on the cover.’ He actually stuck three other [white] guys up there with their instruments not plugged in. Another time, I was on stage and somebody actually shot out our amplifiers.”

Steadman later reflected on the collaboration, “It sounds cheesy but only something like music could bring people like me and Chaka Khan together. What a strange meeting of minds, but it feels so natural.”

Khan agreed, adding, “It’s an art form where people can come together and create a beautiful story. Music isn’t competitive sport. When we collaborate, we make it richer.”

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