Chomee is back and go­ing it alone

The queen of dance is back with her first al­bum in four years – and she’s thrilled to be do­ing this one on her own

DRUM - - Contents - BY RUWAYDAH HAR­RIS

DRESSED in a trendy green sweat­shirt and knee- length pais­ley-print boots, she twerks her fa­mous sexy be­hind and lip- syncs “Zozela za­lala ( You snooze, you lose)” while the cam­eras roll. It’s been four years since she last recorded a song and mu­sic video of her own but the queen of dance is back with a bang.

The song off her brand-new self-ti­tled al­bum talks about hav­ing to fight off women who want to mess with your re­la­tion­ship.

Yet Chomee won’t say whether the song was in­spired by her break-up with mu­sic mogul Arthur Mafokate.

It’s been widely spec­u­lated Arthur dumped his for­mer pro­tégé for fel­low singer Cici, but both Arthur and Cici have de­nied the claim.

“It hap­pens all the time in re­la­tion­ships, to women from all walks of life,” Chomee says about the sub­ject of her song. “It’s about the hard­ships women en­dure in re­la­tion­ships. What we go through in the name of love.”

Of­ten re­ferred to as the first lady of 999 Mu­sic, Chomee also dis­misses ru­mours she dumped Arthur’s brand as her record la­bel.

“That’s not en­tirely true,” she says. “I started my own record la­bel, Di­vatain­ment, but I didn’t dump 999 Mu­sic. We’ll still be do­ing a lot of work to­gether.”

The de­ci­sion that she should go solo was mu­tual, she adds.

“I’ve been one of the long­est-serv­ing mem­bers of 999 Mu­sic. It’s been over 20 years and I’ve learnt a lot from Arthur. It came to a point where I asked, ‘How do I grow from here?’”

Af­ter some soul-search­ing, she re­alised she’d love to own a la­bel of her own. She didn’t know where to start but wouldn’t al­low fear to ham­per her dreams so she ap­proached the man who helped launch her ca­reer.

“In­stead of let­ting her go, we thought it was best to as­sist her to fly on her own,” ex­plains Arthur, who’s joined her on the set of the mu­sic video.

“She’s re­leas­ing her new al­bum un­der her la­bel but with our as­sis­tance. We’ve taken a leaf out of Oskido’s book – he gave Black Cof­fee a plat­form to do his own thing and look how suc­cess­ful Black Cof­fee is to­day. “It’s em­bar­rass­ing for us as record la­bel bosses not to en­cour­age our artists to grow. All she needs is to be dis­ci­plined for her com­pany to flour­ish,” Arthur says.

He also rub­bishes re­ports he had a fall­out with Chomee.

“We fought heav­ily in the past,” Arthur ad­mits. “We were ro­man­ti­cally in­volved at some stage, but we made a con­scious de­ci­sion to get along for the sake of busi­ness.

“A lot of high-pro­file peo­ple also spoke to us when our re­la­tion­ship ended. They told us we need each other pro­fes­sion­ally. It was tough on both of us but we man­aged to put the past be­hind us and move on as pro­fes­sion­als.”

CHOMEE says she’s learnt a lot from Arthur. “He’s a very strict boss and I’m very for­tu­nate to have been an artist with 999 Mu­sic. Arthur has taught me to re­spect my art and to al­ways be punc­tual. “He would tell you, ‘straighten up’ if you be­come big-headed but he’ll also com­pli­ment and praise you if you’ve done well. I do sulk some­times when he tells me, ‘this isn’t how things are done’, but I also recog­nise he’s right,” she says.

Chomee was just nine years old when she found fame as a backup dancer in Arthur’s Oyi, Oyi mu­sic video. He dis­cov­ered the pre­teen and signed her to his la­bel as a dancer be­fore fea­tur­ing her in his mu­sic video.

Ever since then Arthur has played a role in her life and it’s this bond that con­vinced her to stay with the la­bel af­ter their ro­mance came to an end.

She was dev­as­tated when their ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ship ended in 2014 but it’s wa­ter un­der the bridge for Chomee, who’s found love again.

“I’m in a re­la­tion­ship,” she says. “We’re happy and we have fun to­gether. I hope it works out this time.”

She doesn’t want to go into much de­tail be­cause she says the re­la­tion­ship is still new.

“A lot of my things are out in the open, but there are cer­tain things and peo­ple I would like to keep to my­self. Be­ing in a re­la­tion­ship is sa­cred to me. I was brought up to be­lieve that a love rela- tion­ship be­tween two peo­ple is sa­cred and should be re­spected by oth­ers.”

That’s why Chomee says she dis­tanced her­self from Arthur af­ter he and Cici of­fi­cially be­came a cou­ple. She’s aware of the as­sault case her for­mer boss and ex-lover is em­broiled in but says the law has to take its course.

“I can’t com­ment on his re­la­tion­ship with Cici be­cause I wasn’t in­volved there. The mat­ter is in court. It’s not up to us to judge, but for the court to judge.”

BE­ING a for­mer child star has taught her much about the cut­throat en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try but Chomee also cred­its her suc­cess to her par­ents, Lindi and Bheki. “The per­son you be­come is moulded by your en­vi­ron­ment and what you were taught. My par­ents taught me re­spect. I grew up un­der­stand­ing I was raised by a vil­lage and that ev­ery el­der was my mom or my dad.”

A self-pro­claimed shy child, Chomee says she came alive when she danced. “I was for­tu­nate my mom re­alised my tal­ent from the age of five and en­rolled me in a dance school.

“My dance in­struc­tor knew Arthur back in the day when they were danc­ing in com­pe­ti­tions. She of­ten had to fill in at [’ 90s kwaito group] Abashante when Arthur needed dancers for the group. “Our per­for­mance was sup­posed to be a once-off thing, but he liked us and the rest is his­tory.”

Chomee is thrilled to be back with a solo al­bum – al­though she’s quick to point out just be­cause she hasn’t of­fered fans a full CD in four years doesn’t mean she hasn’t been hard at work. She’s been per­form­ing on stage and do­ing col­lab­o­ra­tions with artists, in­clud­ing Eu­phonik and Pro­fes­sor.

“I’ve done things with other peo­ple that have been amaz­ing. I guess I got car­ried away with all the book­ings and just didn’t have the time to pro­duce an­other al­bum,” Chomee says.

Af­ter nu­mer­ous re­quests for new mu­sic, Chomee is giv­ing her fans what they want – a new al­bum com­plete with a new sound. “I’m so ex­cited. I feel hun­gry and hum­ble, like I need to prove my­self all over again.

“Let’s see where we can go be­cause now I’m able to pro­mote my­self and my mu­sic my way. I want to have fun and do mu­sic that al­lows me to do what I en­joy.”

And judg­ing from her smile as she’s cal­led to fin­ish her da­nce rou­tine, she clearly is en­joy­ing her­self.

‘That’s not en­tirely true. I started my own record la­bel but I didn’t dump 999 Mu­sic’

PIC­TURES: ONKGOPOTSE KOLOTI

Chomee and Arthur Mafokate were ro­man­ti­cally in­volved for a while but their re­la­tion­ship ended three years ago.

FAR LEFT: This is how fans got to know the sul­try singer. LEFT: Chomee with one of the ac­tors in her new mu­sic video for the song Zozela Za­lala (RIGHT). We caught up with the for­mer backup dancer dur­ing film­ing.

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