Chris Chameleon is one of the most well-known faces and voices in the SA Music Industry. He is a singer / songwriter / TV and film actor, and performer extraordinaire. Multiple SAMA and Huisgenoot Tempo award-winner, he’s one of the few talents who has been successful in both the English and Afrikaans music industries.
Chameleon’s most recent release is the newly acclaimed English album Firmament. It is his first English album release since 2008 and upon its release, it raced onto the iTunes Top 10 album charts. Chameleon says that while his Afrikaans work has kept him very busy in recent years, there is still much that he has to say in his English mind. “I feel like a different person in each of the 4 languages I speak fluently and it has the strange consequence that I subsequently express myself in dissimilar ways in each of these languages.”
For Chameleon Firmament happened rather quickly from a writing point of view. He says, “Many of the songs were written in less than an hour. I have been living with my beloved for 5 years now. Having been a solid bachelor most of my life, this makes writing difficult, as I like to be alone for writing. So we call some of the songs ‘shopping songs’, because I would seize the opportunity to write songs when my love leaves to go shopping for groceries.”
The recording of the album happened under the musical directorship of Chameleon`s tried and trusted colleague, Theo Crous. They have been working together for the past fifteen years. Chameleons says: “We have a very clear understanding of one another’s methods and needs. Besides that, he has the ability to make me laugh to the extent that I am completely paralyzed and foetal, on the studio floor.”
Firmament: 1. Vault or arch of the Sky – heavens. 2. The field or sphere or an interest or activity.
Chameleon explains that the main drive of the theme of the album and why it is titled Firmament, is that he has reached a phase in his life where he feels less bothered by what people think of him.
He says: “It is strange, because I am in the ‘vanity industry’ and one should care. On the one hand it leaves you with the responsibility to not let yourself go. It is easy to neglect your appearance and lose your grasp of protocol when you stop caring what people think. So I find the need to maintain some element of vigilance in that regard. On the other hand, it is incredibly liberating because I have relaxed into accepting myself for who I am. The album comes from that perspective. Not every song deals with that theme, but it has been the midwife for most of the songs. ~ The song ‘Starburst’ comes from an idea I started shaping way back in 1989. The song never reached completion and now, finally, on this album, it has.”
The catchy single “Can`t Stop Me Loving You” is currently being released to radio nationwide. Have a listen to it below:
For Chameleon one of the most enjoyable aspects of this album has been the making of the related videos. “My videos usually follow a narrative; I am a storyteller by nature. I have conveyed my stories very much to my liking in these videos and they may be my favourite of all time.“ Check out the video for “Hurt” below:
The album was recorded at Sunset studios, outside Stellenbosch on the Helshoogte Pass, and was mixed in Bellville Studios. Schalk Joubert was on Bass and Riaan van Rensburg on Drums.
12 Brand new songs and the stories behind them, seasoned with Chameleon`s subtle humor, honest renditions and the musical dreaming that makes for a stand out album. Firmanent, in Chameleon`s non-caring place of mind, is ironically, an extraordinarily caring offering.
Firmament is available for purchase and downloads on iTunes / Apple Music or you can order you physical copy directly from Chameleon Productions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch this space for regular updates in the Music category on Running Wolf’s Rant.