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‘Queen of Funk’ Chaka Khan on the First Time She Ever Stepped on Stage: ‘Somebody Might Remember, but I Don’t!’

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Dennis Van Tine/ABACAPRESS.COM

Chaka Khan has had an incredible career spanning over several decades, but the 10-time Grammy winner admits she doesn’t remember the first time she ever stepped on stage.

“Somebody might remember, but I don’t!” Khan, 64, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue.

Born Yvette Marie Stevens, the singer changed her name when she joined the Black Panther Party as a teen. The Chicago native then went on to sing with the band Rufus before embarking on a solo career and becoming known as “the Queen of Funk.”

Next up, Khan is set to perform at the Essence Festival in New Orleans.

For more on Chaka Khan, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

“I do it every year,” says the star of the annual music festival, which takes place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome from June 29 to July 2.

“It’s like Mecca,” she adds.

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As for Khan’s favorite thing to do while in the Big Easy?

“I’ll be in my hotel room,” she says with a laugh. “Just be alone and catch up on television.”