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Chris, the chameleon

2007-03-27 17:23

Watch our interview with Chris Chameleon on video

- Broadband Version (7.8MB)
- Medium quality (2.5MB)

“We all consist of different personalities… that is why I decided to call myself Chameleon,” explains Chris. Outside the sun is setting on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Lazy for most, except this camera crew and Chris Chameleon. In the cold, aircon-filled room backstage, the adrenaline is pumping. It’s mere minutes before Chris has to be on stage and we are only halfway through the interview. But despite the pressure Chris’ voice remains surprisingly relaxed.

“Most of what the public sees of me now, has always been there, it has just always been overshadowed by Boo!” says Chris, referring to his previous band. He explains that the different public personas we see of him are all the ‘real’ him, they just reflect different sides of his personality. He likens it to how most of us act differently depending on whether we keep company with our boss, our mother or our partner.
But if you had to be more specific, who would you say is the real Chris? “The English stuff is pretty much the closest to the real me…because it wasn’t dictated by anything, except my own desires.” Chris released his first English solo album Shine in 2006, the same year he released 7de Hemel. Both albums reached gold status but then a month later, 7de Hemel achieved platinum status, selling over 50 000 copies.

A lot of the music Chris produced in the last two years was determined by outside forces. His work on 7de Hemel, the popular 7de Laan soundtrack, was dictacted by the script of the popular soapie and his album Ek Herhaal Jou, was influenced by the meaning Ingrid Jonker intended her poems to have.

“One moment, please,” Francois, the sound guy, interrupts. Loud footsteps outside the makeshift interview room force us to pause the interview for a few minutes. We hear how the stage workers busily rush past to finish their set-up. As we wait in silence, it feels like at least 20 minutes pass. Finally, the work outside stops. We start recording again. Only 15 minutes to go and Chris still has to do his warm-up exercises…

Are you an actor or a musician at heart? “I’ve always been an actor AND a musician,” the answer comes in his clear, still relaxed voice. Chris tells us music is what is most important to him at the moment but it might all change once he becomes tired of the road.

Time is running out… we run through a few more questions and then Chris is off to perform. He leaves a breathless camera crew behind in a cold room. At least we got through all our questions.

Watch the video to see the full interview and some clips of Chris Chameleon performing.

- Annel Malan

He’s a cross-dresser and a boereseun. He’s Afrikaans and he’s English... We went behind the scenes to discover Chris Chameleon’s true colours.

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