The limo rolled up to the front steps of the QVC Studio Park headquarters a full 30 minutes past its scheduled arrival. Under normal conditions, this faux pas would have resulted in a cancelled meeting and a missed opportunity. But today, the buyers waiting inside were not flustered by the change in schedule...I mean don’t all 8-time Grammy winning divas sing to their own tune?
As the chariot door opened I anticipated how our first encounter would go... would she be standoffish, full of herself or any combination of the celebrity personas we see glorified on TV?... the answers came quickly as a larger than life quaff of black curly hair peeked out of the passenger side door followed by its smaller than expected owner.
“Sorry I’m late”, she said.
“No problem at all”, I responded
As the legendary diva, Chaka Khan and I easily walked up the steps toward the front door we made a quick connection that assured us both that we were on the same page.
“I get a good feeling about you”, Chaka proclaimed as I held the door open.
“I get a good feeling about you too”, I countered and we had made our connection.
The meetings went very well and Chaka and I left with a great feeling about our QVC projects. On the way back to the limo, Chaka asked if I wouldn’t mind driving her to the airport as she had lost faith in the limo driver some time ago. I agreed without hesitation and Chaka and her entourage climbed into my truck and we headed for the Philadelphia International Airport... the limo and Chaka’s bags in tow.
En route, Chaka and I had some time to chat and get to know each other. She revealed to me some rather insightful nuances about living the life of a mega-celebrity and we shared some heartfelt thoughts about life and parenting. She was most excited about her new music project with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis back in Los Angeles. They were planning a new album with music inspired by her funky beginnings with Rufus... songs like “I’m Every Woman”, “Through The Fire” and “Tell Me Something Good” quickly came to mind... at the next stop light, I turned to the Hall of Fame music icon sitting to my right and said... “Chaka! I’ve got it”.
“Got what”, the diva replied
“The title to your new album”, I countered
“Oh yeah... “ (she was by now more than interested)
“FUNK THIS!”. I stated with a defiant attitude befitting the queen of funk herself.
Without so much as a pause, Chaka lurched forward in her seat, flew her hair to the side, laid her big brown eyes on me and screamed.... “I LOVE IT!”
Well, a year later Chaka’s album FUNK THIS was released with widespread anticipation, an advanced copy came to my house with a special note of thanks and when I opened up the package I was further honored when I spotted my name in the album’s liner notes!
FUNK THIS earned Chaka two more Grammys (including R&B Album Of The Year) and a life-long friend (that would be me). Chances are that Chaka will follow up her success with FUNK THIS by producing another musical tribute to her soulful roots... I’m pretty sure that when she does it will be titled “FUNK THAT!”... let’s just say a little birdie told me ;)