Dr. Jose Chameleone, one of East Africa’s most hardworking and most celebrated musicians, is in the country to undertake his project with Coke Studio; iQru recently caught up with him in order to discuss his music, the Coke Studio project. He also talked about his relationship with Diamond and shared a message for teens and upcoming musicians. Read about it below:

Insyder: How important has Kenya been in your musical journey?

Chameleone: Kenya is very important to me in my career; it is where my career began. I tried my luck in Uganda and it didn’t work out, until I came to Kenya and signed my deal with Ogopa Djs. It is also where Mama Mia happened, and Mama Mia is the album that changed my life. I also didn’t know how to speak Kiswahili until I came to Kenya, so I owe a lot to this country.

Insyder: So if I was to ask you your favorite musical project, you would say that it’s Mama Mia?

Chameleone: Absolutely, Mama Mia was the game changer.

Insyder: Briefly tell us about your project with Coke Studio

Chameleone: I was here last year to record for Coke Studio, but I would say that this year it is going to be the biggest so far. There is a lot we have in store, and it is also very special to me because I am going to be recording with Neyma. She doesn’t speak a lot of English, mostly Portuguese, and I don’t speak Portuguese, so it is going to be very interesting to overcome that language barrier.

Insyder: But you must love the challenge, seeing as music is a global language, yes?

Chameleone: Absolutely, in fact she was asking if I could sing in Portuguese!

Insyder: That would be wonderful to hear; while we’re on the subject of artists, do you have a favourite artist to work with?

Chameleone: I have so many favorites, but the one artist I would really love to work with is 2face Idibia; he is a legend in African music, and he is very talented. It would be nice.

Insyder: A fruitful collaboration that would be! Any upcoming musical projects you’d like to share with us?

Chameleone: Yes, I actually do have a collaboration with Koffi Olomide; it’s very unfortunate that the timing is bad, but it is still in the works.

Insyder: You have one of the longest and most illustrious careers in African music; what would you describe as the highlight of your career?

Chameleone: I have had several highlights, but the moment that touched me most is when I sold out the Cricket Oval, and 40,000 people turned up for my ‘Tubonge Live’ concert; the fact that my fans were so dedicated to stay through the rain was a crowning moment for me. It was really great!

Insyder: There are several upcoming musicians who look up to you; what would be your words of advice to them?

Chameleone: I would advise them to be resilient and to anticipate a lot of challenges, such as refusal; I have faced refusal earlier in my career and eventually I did well. They will too if they never give up.

Insyder: What message would you have to the teenagers?

Chameleone: I would advise them to stay positive and to stay away from drugs; it’s one thing to say it and another thing to actually act on it, so I’d advise them to be active in avoiding usage of drugs.

Insyder: One last, question, it was recently mentioned that you believe that Diamond is underrated; do you still believe so?

Chameleone: I have never believed him to be underrated, my statement was twisted; I said that although Diamond is a great East African artist, I am the greatest East African artist, and one person twisted that statement into what you heard. Diamond is very talented; I have spoken with him about it and we have resolved it.

Insyder: So there is no beef?

Chameleone: Not at all; I only meant that I and Diamond in East African music are like Uhuru Kenyatta and Jomo Kenyatta!

(We all laugh heartily at the comparison)

Diamond poses with Davie and Dougie
The EA superstar poses with iQru’s Davie and Dougie


Written by douglaswrites