Cleo Ice Queen is the most popular female Hip-hop/Afro-pop artiste in Zambia. Through out the years she has transcended into much more than just music. The Ice queen has been the face of a number of companies, as their brand ambassador, she is a highly sort after MC/Host of events ranging from sports to entertainment to fashion, she has dabbled in acting, modeling, TV presenting, entrepreneurship and a lot more. The career of Clementina Mulenga (real name) may seem like an overnight success story, but she has been hard at work for some time.
“I dictate how I slice the cake I’m boss lady/ they hate how I wake and bake but stay amazing/ you couldn’t walk a quarter mile in my Jimmy Choo’s / I’m a born champion, I won’t stop / and i dont care if i win or lose /im holding onto my crown, stay ahead and on top /single parenting /no procrastinating /i got to get up /God speed / we elevating /we celebrating / and even though we underrated, we keep the whole nation motivated and educated ”
My initial introduction to Cleo Ice Queen was in 2012 from a random Facebook post of a freestyle she did over Drakes hit single “The Motto”. Her delivery and word play got me interested and I begun to follow her career. Fast forward to 2016, I was further enthralled by the Ice Queen when I watched her perform at an event amply named “Star night”. That was my first time to watch her live. She was pregnant with her second child at the time, but still gave a stellar performance.
Cleo’s first break out single was “Big Dreams”. The infectious up-tempo track featured the legendary JK. Entering Big Brother Africa: The Chase was arguably the best career decision she made early in her career. She may not have won the competition (she was the first runner up) but the reality show exposed her to the wider African audience who quickly fell in love with her. Cleo took advantage of this newfound popularity by releasing new singles, music videos, and collaborating with a number of African artists.
KAPA187: You have been in the music industry for sometime now. What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned along the way?
CLEO ICE QUEEN: “Always be humble, practice good work ethics, time management is key and lastly…fall in love with your hustle and all it comes with, the good and bad.”
Late 2015 saw the release of her highly anticipated debut album ‘Geminice’. It was well received by fans and critics alike.
“Geminice” is a terrific debut album. It feels fresh, new and original. One can tell that a lot of time and effort was put into perfecting it; it was not a rush job. While the theme of the album is more fun-loving and upbeat, with party anthems like the Urban Hype featured “Turn Up”, “Addicted” and the hard hitting “Autobahn”, Cleo Ice Queen is at her best when she digs deeper on songs such as the Wezi assisted “Ninaka”. On the song she discusses her challenges in the music industry and life in general .She gets personal on this track and doesn’t hold anything back. You can feel the emotion in her raps. Wezi’s powerful vocals alone are a reason to have this song on repeat. Cleo also has uplifting songs such as “Goodbye”, and describes how it feels to fall in love in “Falling” that features amazing vocals by Salma Sky….” – as reviewed by Lusakatimes.com
KAPA187: Were you happy with the response your debut album got? How have you grown as an artiste since then?
CLEO ICE QUEEN: ” I believe the album could have done better but I was happy with the piece of work I had put together. Being an independent artist its always difficult to get good promotion/marketing and distribution…while at the same time trying be a creative artist, and juggling other jobs…but I have grown and learned how to juggle things well and have a good rapport with dj’s, the media and my fans.”
Cleo did not slow down after the release of ‘Geminice’ but continued to work, producing high quality music videos that were televised on international channels such as Trace Africa and MTV Base.
Asked about the highlight of her career so far, she said “There have been many but one that stands out has to be my participation as the 1st Zambian artist in the Coke Studios 2016 edition.”
Coke Studio Africa was a great opportunity for her to make a name on a continent-wide stage and she grabbed it with both hands. She collaborated with South African artiste, Bucie, to create the spectacular song “Simunye”.
(Coke Studio gives artists the opportunity to create something new and exciting. The show provides a platform for renowned, as well as upcoming and less mainstream artists of various genres, regions and languages to team up musically in live studio recording sessions.)
The Ice Queen’s star continues to rise as she is gaining recognition outside the Zambian boarders.
KAPA187: This year you have once again been nominated for the AFRIMMA awards in the category best female southern Africa for the 3rd time in a row (She won this award in 2015). How does that make you feel?
CLEO ICE QUEEN: ” I’m truly humbled and motivated to work even harder to get more recognition and appreciation on more country and worldwide platforms.”
(African Muzik Magazine Awards (AFRIMMA) is the sole award ceremony in the diaspora that caters to all musical genres. It is based in the US).
It may seem like Cleo has achieved quite a lot of success in her career , but she is still hungry for more.
KAPA187: What career ambitions have you not yet achieved?
CLEO ICE QUEEN: “BET Award, Grammy award, A Zambian award of any sort Lol!!!! A worldwide tour, an all female performance crew, from dancers to instrumentalists, to DJ, to set designer etc”.
Zambian music, in general, has been improving over the past number of years. This includes the quality of music videos , the lyrical content and the fact that more and more artistes are performing with live bands as opposed to miming. Asked about the state of the music industry, the Queen had this to say; “Zambian music right now is a bit stale no lie…there are some artists putting in the most into their craft but there are also alot of “run of the mill” artists that are dubbed “one hit wonders”. With the number that are working hard at their craft, producing quality and being consistent, they give me hope and yea I can say YES WE ARE on the right track. In order for us to elevate to the next level we need the support and respect of the consumer, the media and society at large.”
Aside from the music, multi-talented Cleo Ice Queen, has ventured into a number of hosting gigs. She is currently the host of ‘Bola yapa zed’, a popular football magazine show on DSTV’s Super Sport. She is also the current host of Zambezi Magic’s Dreams talent competition in which she plays the mediator between the show and its fans.
KAPA187: You have had the opportunity to venture into other fields such as hosting high profile events, TV shows, etc. How has that experience been?
CLEO ICE QUEEN: “I love to talk and express myself with words so I thoroughly enjoy hosting and presenting. Its a good challenge that I praise myself for if I execute it well and its lots of fun… and I’m in love with the hustle right now lol”
KAPA187: What can people expect from the latest season of Dreams that you are currently working on.
CLEO ICE QUEEN: “Zambezi Magic Dreams!!! The fact that it has a touch of Dstv via Zambezi Magic…. that alone should tell you we are bringing the sauce, the juice and all the entertainment along with the popcorn lol!!!!”
KAPA187: What in your opinion do local artists need to do in order to attract more corporate endorsements and collaborations?
CLEO ICE QUEEN: “Be good at what you do, be consistent, protect your image/brand, display exceptional work culture/ethic, do not under value yourself, communicate well.”
“…Image lost in the translation, who I was and what you see, I’m a queen, I’m a mother, but I’m out here hustling …”
KAPA187: Congratulations on the birth of your second child. How do you juggle the responsibilities of motherhood with your hectic work schedule?
CLEO ICE QUEEN: “Thank you! God sees me through really, I cannot credit myself. He has sent the right people at the right time, blessed me and equipped me with all I need to pursue my God given purpose. All glory to the Lord God Almighty…no lie! “
KAPA187: Do you have any future projects coming up that your fans will be excited to hear about?
CLEO ICE QUEEN: “I have a new song and video coming up soon called “Umbrella” a song similar to “Oxygen” that I’ve recently worked on with…Kaladoshas. Another song/video for one of my own favorite songs titled “XOXO” produced by Kekero. You guys are gonna love the projects I have lined up to close the year of 2017. “
KAPA187: Any last words…
CLEO ICE QUEEN: “Wake up, work out, dress up, show up and SLAY!!!! No matter what! “
The 28-year-old mother of two is a natural born performer, whether it’s on the stage, or on TV. She is yet to tap into her fully potential, so expect even bigger and better things from her in the years to come. Keep a close eye on her as she continues to reign on her throne.
Bend the knee and bow down to the Queen!!
SIMUNYE (with Bucie)
OXYGEN (feat Kaladoshas)
NINAKA (feat Wezi)
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