“I took the bait”: Chaka Khan apologises for questioning the rankings of Adele, Mariah Carey and Mary J Blige on a 'greatest singers of all time' list

Chaka Khan being interviewed
(Image credit: Santiago Felipe/Getty Images)

Chaka Khan has apologised for appearing to question the positions of Adele, Mariah Carey and Mary J Blige on Rolling Stone’s ‘200 greatest singers of all time’ list.

Her comments came when she appeared on the Los Angeles Magazine’s The Originals podcast. Khan landed at number 29 on Rolling Stone’s chart, but suggested that Joan Baez (number 189) “cannot sing” and that Mariah Carey’s spot at number 5 was down to “payola or some shit like that”.

On learning that Mary J Blige placed at number 25, Khan said that the judges “need hearing aids,” while Adele’s number 22 ranking was met with a withering “OK, I quit”.

However, Khan has now apologised for her comments in an Instagram post. “Recently, I was asked about a list of the 'greatest singers of all time' and instead of questioning the need for such a list, I was pitted against other artists and I took the bait,” she said.

“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.

“Thank you for all the love everyone has shown me, unconditionally. I have always been about empowering others and I started a foundation for that very purpose. I will be announcing soon.  

“Empowering all artists is most important because we truly are the architects of change...and change begins within the heart. I love you all and God bless - Chaka”

Despite Khan’s attempt to diffuse the situation, fellow artist Macy Gray went on to suggest that she’d been right in the first place. “You shoulda been in the top 5 Chaka,” she said. “Everybody knows that. Rolling Stone has NO clue.”

This one could run and run.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.