Jose Chameleon, born Joseph Mayanja on 30 April 1979 in Uganda, is an Afrobeat and reggae musician. His other stage names include Joe Chameleon, Jose Chameleone, or simply Chameleone (sometimes spelled Chameleon). He is one of the most popular Ugandan musicians of the 21st century and enjoys strong popularity in many countries throughout Africa. Chameleone sings in Luganda, English and Swahili. Several of his songs have yielded popular catchphrases, including Basiima Ogenze, Shida Za Dunia, Nekolera Maali and Badilisha.
Chameleone began his career in the early 1990s as a DJ at the Maganjo Mizuri night club in Kampala while studying at the Progressive Secondary School. He was signed to the Kenyan record label Ogopa DJs. He enjoyed strong success with one of his first singles, "Bageya", which featured Kenyan artist Redsan. He also collaborated with fellow Ugandan Bebe Cool, but later the two developed a tense rivalry.
Chameleone’s musical style is a combination of Ugandan folk music, central African rumba, zouk and reggae. His first album, Bageya, was released in 2000. In 2013 he had released twelve more albums, including Mama Mia in 2001, Njo Karibu and The Golden Voice in 2003, Mambo Bado in 2004, Kipepeo in 2005, Shida za Dunia in 2006, Sivyo Ndivyo and Katupakase in 2007, Bayuda in 2009, Vumilia in 2010, Valu Valu in 2012, and Badilisha in 2013.
Chameleone is a member of the Musician’s Community, a coalition of musicians who use their fame and fortune to help eradicate poverty and create awareness campaigns for HIV/AIDS. He has performed numerous concerts overseas in such countries as the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden and Belgium among others
Family and personal life
Chameleone is married to socialite Daniella Atim, a daughter of a local religious figure. The couple have several children. His wedding attracted significant media attention.
His younger brother Douglas Mayanja is also a musician who performs under the stage name Weasel with fellow musician Moses Radio as part of the Goodlyfe Crew.
In December 2012 a man died from burn injuries sustained at Chameleone's house. Chameleone claims the man was an intruder who threatened his family and then accidentally set himself alight with petrol in a jerry can he was carrying. The man's family claim he was murdered by Chameleone's crew who burned him alive. Although the police investigation has come under scrutiny, charges have not been pressed against the singer.
Jose Chameleone Discography 2000 - 2013
Year Name of Album Label
2000 Bageya Ogopa Deejays
2001 Mama Mia Ogopa Deejays
2002 Njo Karibu Ogopa Deejays
2003 The Golden Voice Ogopa Deejays
2004 Mambo Bado Ogopa Deejays
2005 Kipepeo Leone Island Productions
2006 Shida za Dunia Leone Island Productions
2007 Sivyo Ndivyo Leone Island Productions
2007 Katupakase Leone Island Productions
2009 Bayuda Leone Island Productions
2010 Vumilia Leone Island Productions
2012 Valu Valu Leone Island Productions
2013 Badilisha Leone Island Productions
Won:Beffta Awards UK best international act
2003 Pearl of Africa Music Awards (PAM Awards) – Artiste of the Year, Best Male Artist, Best Contemporary Artist & Song of the Year ("Mama Mia")
2004 Pearl of Africa Music Awards (PAM Awards) – Artiste of the Year & Song of the Year ("Jamila")[
2005 Pearl of Africa Music Awards (PAM Awards) – Best Afro Beat Artiste/Group & Best Afro Beat Single ("Kipepeo")
2004 Tanzania Music Awards – Best East African Album ("Bei Kali")
2005 Tanzania Music Awards – Best East African Album ("Jamila")
2006 Pearl of Africa Music Awards (PAM Awards) – Best Afro Beat Artiste/Group[
2006 Kisima Music Awards – Best Ugandan Song (Mama Rhoda) & Best Ugandan Music Video (Mama Rhoda)
2007 Kisima Music Awards – Best Ugandan Song (Sivyo Ndiviyo with Professor Jay)
2011 Ugandan Radio Dotcom Music Awards - Artiste of The Year
2003 Kora Awards – Best East Africa Artist
2004 Kora Awards – Best East African Male Artist
2006 MOBO Awards – Best African Act
2007 MTV Europe Music Awards – Best African Act Nominees
2012 Tanzania Music Awards - Best East African Song (Valu Valu)
2013 HiPipo Music Awards - Best Afrobeat Song (Moto Moto), Best Dancehall/Ragga Song with Dotstar (Give Me), Song of the Year (Valu Valu)
East African media have reported several brawls between Chameleone and rival musicians such as Bobi Wine, Bebe Cool, his brother Weasel and Vampino Elvis. Several musicians, including most of Goodlyfe Crew, have left his label Leone Island Productions as a result of these conflicts.