Chameleon: African Music Star

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In this trade like any other area of business, there are people who are jealous. Whenever, they see you in a better position they don’t feel well. Not everybody is happy with what I’m doing.

With seven recorded albums already under his belt, the East African start known as Jose Chameleon is on fire, with fans in Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and, of course, globally. He’s the winner of many music awards in the region and recently was recognized in London as among the top three best African artistes. Ever since his début “Mama Mia� album in 1999, he’s never looked back. He recently teamed up with another Tanzanian, Professor Jay, to form the BIG Js and produced a new album, which officially launches next year. He found time to speak with The Black Star News while in London.

BSN: How did you manage to travel—yet your visas were revoked?
JC: Man, I was innocent and everybody knew even the thinnest atom of the whole saga—And I was not afraid of anything because right from the beginning I was certain that, God will prove to them all were fabrications man. These people are not stupid. Thanks for their democracy and rule of law. The law applied and now I’m traveling as a freeman.

BSN: Is it true your fiancé was arrested in a drug scandal in the US? What do you say about that?
JC: Yes, Dorotia was my fiancé, but we separated more than three years ago man. That was exactly what helped me. You know these white women like to associate their names with fame. She retained my name and when she was arrested, they of course thought that, I was still with her. But everything was sorted out. The British High Commission was querying how the US gave me the visa. They took my passport but when I proved that I have no relationship with Dorotia any more they had to back off man.

BSN: What do you have to tell those who were giggling about your failed travel because your visa had been revoked?
JC: Those who laughed and said what they have said, I have proved to them that, I was innocent. I have challenged them. Let ‘em set another challenge.

BSN: What do you learn from such an incident?
JC: I get a better lesson to deal with all sorts of challenges man. Whenever I get a challenge, I try hard to improve on my performance and how to over come such challenges. So, I should say that for those who want me, they just set challenges. I request them to set another challenge, because it helps me to improve and get better for my fans. For example things were published and after I was proved innocent, I got the same publications. So, I benefited a lot.

BSN: You say them not mentioning the names, who are these ‘em?
JC: In this trade like any other area of business, there are people who are jealous. Whenever, they see you in a better position they don’t feel well.  Not everybody is happy with what I’m doing. As a person who is prominent. There are challenges that I’m likely to undergo. But the more I’m pushed against the wall, the more I think and plan to overcome such hurdles. With God’s mercy I can possibly overcome whatever comes into my way.

BSN: Why all this on your head?
JC: As a person who is prominent, I have to face all kinds of challenges. I have to accept that, but it’s good on my side.

BSN: Who would you like to emulate or be compared to?
JC: I can see Jamaicans, Congolese and Americans going beyond—that is where I would be interested to be. They are human beings and I’m convinced I’m a soldier fighting for the name of my country. I’m fighting to promote the name of my country, so they should have supported me instead of fighting for my downfall. They have to support me rather than discourage me and pile all sorts of foul-mouthed things to destroy my image. I told you that I have already jumped that hurdle and waiting for yet another—This kind of life we are moving in, sometimes it’s good that you get challenges to perfect your performance. Because it gives me courage to think ahead and you know when pushed against the wall is when all my brain starts working at rocket speed.

BSN: What are the differences you have noted here in comparison to your home?
JC: Man, if these people had not thought wisely, they wouldn’t have been at this stage. They plan ahead after encountering such hurdles and they make sure that such disaster doesn’t come any more. The most important thing is that people here in Europe and America, they had to think a lot, that is why they reached where they are now. Really they are miles a head of us.

BSN: Lastly, as far as you see things going on in your career, do you think there are enemies against you?
JC: I don’t consider ‘em to be my enemies but my friends because when they make such criticisms, they open-up my brain to start thinking hard. It’s fair to get criticism. It gives courage to find means of over-coming or solve where you went wrong to the satisfaction of my fans. If you don’t think, you can’t overcome such problems. Possibly, they knew not that God was on my side.

Miwambo is The Black Star News’s European correspondent based in London.

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