By Ahmad Muto
Former media personality and music band Code 9 founder Chris Ireland said singer Jose Chameleone never made it to the Millennium song line-up because he was still in Nairobi, Kenya working on his craft as an upcoming artiste. He explained that at the time, Nile Breweries did big concerts every new year’s day, but for the year 2000, they decided to focus on local talent.
“Nile breweries used to do something big every new year’s. And used to bring in new artistes. Those days Congolese artistes were big, they used to bring in Kanda Bongoman, Pepe Kale and the like. This time we asked why not be different and promote local musicians with a millennium song?” explained Ireland.
He noted though that when Chamleone blew up, he was working with a telecom company and noticed the Mama mia singer was put on a retainer, earning monthly for doing nothing most times.
“Chameleone was not really huge that time. During the recording, he had not yet come up. I worked with MTN as well, but when I was with them, Chameleone was on a retainer. It means he got about sh3m per month even when he was not performing. The idea was to own his services so he does not work with competitors and have him at their beck and call during functions,” he added.
However, last month, singer Buchaman said in an interview that Chameleone was present in the country and yearned to be a part of the Millennium song, but Steve Jean, who flew in all the way from Los Angeles, USA to manage the project told them they were not talented enough.
He explained that Jean called them – Chameleone, Bebe Cool, Buchaman – noise makers, forcing Chameleone to go back to Nairobi, frustrated only to return with Mama Mia.
Juliana Kanyomozi who was an upcoming artiste at the time managed to make it to the Millienium song though, because Ireland got her from Namasagali College and used his connections to get her career started. That should explain how she ended up a part of the song. The song had Ireland himself, Carol Nakimera, Emperor Orlando, Steve Jean, Marl Rebel, Rude Boy Devoh, Mulindwa Muwonge, Paul Kafeero and others.