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
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’
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.