Monday, October 10, 2011
Chris Chameleon Biography
Innovative, prolific and endlessly creative, Chris Chameleon has become known in South Africa and abroad as a musical phenomenon. With a style all of his own, irresistible stage personality and a reputation for mesmerizing audiences with his four-octave voice and vocal acrobatics, his exceptional talent has won him rave reviews and numerous awards over the past 6 years. Awards include two South African Music Awards (SAMAs) and a Medal of Honour from the South African Academy of Science and Arts.
In 1997, Chris Chameleon became the bassist and front man of Boo!, an eclectic musical threesome which has since acquired a worldwide cult following. In its first 7 years of existence, Boo! performed over 800 shows in 17 countries, including Hungary, Croatia and 14 states in the USA. Boo! performed at many European and American music festivals with, among others, the White Stripes, Limp Bizkit, Slipknot, Franz Ferdinand, Cypress Hill and Coldplay. The band also received a South African Music Award (SAMA) for Best Pop Album in 2002.
First solo album:
When Boo! bandmates Ampie Omo and Leon Retief hung up their instruments in 2004, Chris Chameleon spread his wings, choosing to explore his Afrikaans South African roots by releasing the critically-acclaimed ‘Ek Herhaal Jou’ (“I Repeat You”) - compositions of the poetry of iconic 60’s poet Ingrid Jonker. ‘Ek Herhaal Jou’ received superb reviews from critics and was lauded for making accessible Jonker’s work to a wide audience of listeners. ‘Ek Herhaal Jou’ was nominated for a 2006 South African Music Award for Best Adult Contemporary Afrikaans Album. The album reached gold status in South Africa in July 2006 and platinum status in December 2007.
Six years after the release of ‘Ek Herhaal Jou’ Chris is back with an album that easily builds on the creative energy that Ingrid Jonker’s lyrics instilled in him. The new album ‘As Jy Weer Skryf’ is an eclectic musical masterpiece. The compositions are upbeat and heartfelt and there are also songs that fearlessly visit the darker side of Jonker’s work. A rock and children’s song also add to the variety on the album. ‘As Jy Weer Skryf’ is an in-depth exemplar of Chris’ evolution as an artist over the past six years. The combination of Chris’ unique vocal capabilities with complex instrumentation gives way to a much richer sound. “As Jy Weer Skryf” was recorded in March 2011 at Belville Studios under the guidance of award-winning music producer, Theo Crous.
2005 – 2010
Chris Chameleon released his first DVD “Volkleur” in 2005, a few months after the release of “Ek Herhaal Jou”. The DVD - a perfect showcase for his powerful solo performances - reached gold status in 2006.
2006 saw the simultaneous release of his first English solo rock album, ‘Shine’ and a second Afrikaans album, ‘7de Hemel’. ‘7de Hemel’ is a collection of the songs performed by the versatile Chameleon as the popular character Liam in South Africa’s favourite soap opera, ‘7de Laan’. ‘7de Hemel’ reached platinum status within its first 2 months of release and reached double platinum status in 2009. ‘Shine’, a superbly-produced, melodic pop-rock album yielded various chart-topping singles on national commercial radio stations and was nominated for a 2007 SAMA Award for Best Alternative Album. The single “Anywhere” from the album ‘Shine’ was entered into the International Songwriting Competition (ISC) and reached the semi-finals in February 2007.
In July 2007, Chris Chameleon released his third Afrikaans album ‘Ek Vir Jou’ which achieved gold status in less than two months after its release. ‘Ek Vir Jou’ chronicles the development of a romantic relationship, from love at first sight to the eventual unravelling.