Chaka Khan To Receive Howie Richmond Hitmaker Award

Previously Announced Inductees Include John Bettis, Garth Brooks, Leon Russell, Billy Steinberg & Tom Kelly and Allen Toussaint

NEW YORK, NY- May 3, 2011 –Songwriters Hall of Fame Chairman Jimmy Webb announced today that Chaka Khan will be the 2011 recipient of the prestigious Howie Richmond Hitmaker Award at the Annual Induction and Awards Dinner slated for Thursday, June 16 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.

“Chaka Kahn’s signature voice and unique vision have influenced the sound of popular music in a way that has endured,” commented Chairman Jimmy Webb. “We are proud to bestow this well-deserved honor upon her.”

Music icon Chaka Khan is legendary for her all-powerful voice, show stopping stage presence and fearless style.  The soul singer/songwriter has won 10 Grammys® and countless other awards including the Lifetime Achievement Award from both BET and the World Music Awards, as well as the prestigious UNCF Award of Excellence for her outstanding accomplishments in the music industry.  Her albums have received platinum and gold recognition and throughout her career, she has collaborated with artists such as Prince, Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis, Steve Winwood, Michael McDonald, Rod Stewart and Mary J. Blige.

Khan burst onto the music scene in the 1970s as the lead singer in the multi-racial band Rufus.  Early on Khan caught the eye of Stevie Wonder who penned the band’s first hit, “Tell Me Something Good,” which won a Grammy® in 1975 for Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group Or Chorus.  Rufus continued to dominate the airwaves with chart toppers such as “Once You Get Started,” “Everlasting Love,” “Do You Love What You Feel?,” “Ain’t Nobody” and “Sweet Thing,” which received the Most Played Song Award in 1995 at the ASCAP Pop Awards.

In 1978, Khan broke out as a solo artist with the smash hit “I’m Every Woman” and had continued success with songs such as “Papillon,” “What Cha’ Gonna Do For Me?” and “I Feel For You.”  Her music has appeared on a number of movie soundtracks including Clockers, Miami Vice, Bridget Jones’ Diary, 27 Dresses, Deliver Us from Eva and Madea’s Family Reunion.   In 2007, Khan released her 11th studio album; Funk This, which won Grammys® for Best R&B Album and Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for her duet with Mary J. Blige on “Disrespectful.”  Khan co-headlined the sold-out Here Comes the Girls tour in 2009 with recording artists Anastacia and Lulu. 

She established the Chaka Khan Foundation in 1999 with the mission to educate, inspire and empower children in the Los Angeles community to achieve their full potential by providing academic counsel and programming.  In 2003, she released her autobiography, Chaka! Through the Fire and in 2008 made her Broadway debut as Sofia in The Color Purple.  Khan will receive a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on May 19, 2011.

The Howie Richmond Hitmaker Award, named after one of the SHOF’s distinguished founders, is specifically tailored for artists or “star makers” in the music industry who have been responsible for a substantial number of hit songs for an extended period, and who recognize the importance of songs and their writers.  Examples of previous Hitmaker Award recipients include Clive Davis, Garth Brooks, Chuck Berry, Whitney Houston, Michael Bolton, Gloria Estefan, Diana Ross, Sir Tom Jones and Phil Ramone.

Inductees at this year’s event include John Bettis, Garth Brooks, Leon Russell, Billy Steinberg & Tom Kelly and Allen Toussaint.  The prestigious Johnny Mercer Award will be presented to Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil and Drake will receive the celebrated Hal David Starlight Award.

About The Songwriters Hall of Fame:
The Songwriters Hall of Fame celebrates songwriters, educates the public with regard to their achievements, and produces a spectrum of professional programs devoted to the development of new songwriting talent through workshops, showcases and scholarships. There are fewer than 400 inductees who make up the impressive roster enshrined in the Hall of Fame. The list includes Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland, Albert Hammond, Desmond Child, Paul Williams, Hal David and Burt Bacharach, John Fogerty, Bob Dylan, Isaac Hayes and David Porter, Richard and Robert Sherman, Carole King, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Sir Elton John, Bernie Taupin, Brian Wilson, James Taylor, James Brown, Bruce Springsteen, Curtis Mayfield, Jim Croce, Phil Collins, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Loretta Lynn, Jimmy Webb, Van Morrison, Kris Kristofferson, Dolly Parton, Diane Warren and Leonard Cohen among many others.

Full biographies and a complete list of inductees are available at the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s Virtual Museum .
Join us! Our mission is to remember and honor our great songwriters while building our musical future through workshops, showcases and scholarships, along with the opportunity to vote for the next slate of inductees. Joining online is quick and easy.

Ticket Information:
Tickets for the Songwriters Hall of Fame event begin at $1,000 each and are available through Buckley Hall Events, (212) 573-6933. Net proceeds from the event will go toward the Songwriters Hall of Fame programs.

Fran Curtis
Rogers & Cowan
[email protected]

Lauren Wilsman
Rogers & Cowan
[email protected]