Chisha Mubambe popularly known as Chromez, The Voice of Lusaka was born in Gaborone, Botswana to a father that was a journalist and a mother that has been into different types of businesses. He didn’t spend a lot of time in his country of birth as his family moved back to Zambia where both his parents are from after he was born.
The city of Lusaka being the capital of Zambia also makes it a melting pot of different cultures that Chromez was fortunate to be exposed to, it is this that partly makes him the person he is today, a man able to identify with different peoples’ way of living, this is common among people that grew up in the city too.
His radio career started at Pan African Radio in 2012, since then he has worked for a number of radio stations and is currently at Lusaka’s Rock FM 96.5.
KAPA187: What motivated you to venture into a career in media, particularly radio?
Chromez: I was always a fan of radio, I recall listening to people like 3illmatic, Killa Beats, Crunch, Scazzy Jay, Flava, K Smash, Atience, Kaliwa, Jay T, Ray Cast, Peaches (the list is long) and wishing I could be all up in that space but at that time it was just a thought, I wanted to be a Lawyer which was a childhood dream. Now that I think back to when I made that decision as a kid, it was just something cool to say to impress my parents, particularly my late father who was very stern about academics and excelling in them. The real drive to get into radio came from my teacher of English in high school, one time after a lesson when I read a paragraph or two during a comprehension exercise in class, she told me to try getting into media especially radio after school because I had the voice for it. She sparked the idea that was a thought that lingered in my mind for years and for that, I’ll always be thankful.
KAPA187: You currently co-host the drive-time show on Lusaka’s Rock FM 96.5 with Torri Jonez. This happens to be my personal favorite drive-time show! We have a number of radio stations for people to tune in to, what makes your show unique?
Chromez: Really humbled to know you love the show, I appreciate your support. Live On Drive, which is the name of the show I host with Torri Jonez is unique because of the chemistry that exists between us, we are ACTUAL friends and so everything that you listen to is genuine which is why I think it resonates with a lot of people. We keep it real on every topic that we come across. Also our individual experience in radio is a major factor, Torri did radio when she was in London, I have been at this for 6 years and I’m always looking at ways to improve. It also comes down to the fact that Rock FM provides a great environment that fosters a very strong creative energy that exists among us. Most of all, we are all allowed to be who we really are on radio and that’s what people want to listen to.
KAPA187: During your career you have had the opportunity to meet and interview various international and local entertainment celebrities. Is there one entertainer you have had the best experience with?
Chromez: Even though I have had great experiences with most of them, Jay Rox stands out the most because he is not an earthling lol. I remember I interviewed him one time when Zone Fam was still together as a crew and then another time as a solo artist. During the latter, we had a very productive conversation on air and got massive response from the listeners. After the interview he invited me to a private screening to a video of his then unreleased song that turned out to be Auto Pilot, only a select few individuals from the industry were in attendance, this was 5 months before it officially dropped so it was a big deal. While there he opened up my mind about how big the entertainment industry in Zambia can potentially be and we traded thoughts on how to make things better. I have a lot of respect for him and everything he does, thanks to him I see things through a very different lens now.
KAPA187: What is the best part of working on radio?
Chromez: Its magical! As exaggerated as that sounds, it’s absolutely true. We Radio Personalities speak to so many people every single day. The ability to communicate our thoughts while keeping in mind that, that in itself comes with a great deal of responsibility. To top it all off, it’s fun and we get paid for it.
Chromez got involved with the Agents of Change in August of 2016, a Non-Governmental Organization under the Children’s Radio Foundation whose aim is to train children with presenting skills so they can share knowledge about topics that cover climate change on radio. He was one of the facilitators that overlooked the training while he was at Power FM, ever since then he has continued working with the Agents of Change on projects of a similar nature. He is also a seasoned voice over artist that has done work for Coca Cola, MTN, Airtel, Zamtel, Zambeef, Proflight, Pizza Hut Zambia & Uganda, Tigmoo.com, Times of Zambia, Cavendish University, Stanbic Bank among others.
KAPA187: Apart from your work on radio, you are also a voice over artist, MC and Podcast host, among other activities I’m sure. How do you manage to maintain a balance and make sure all ventures get the appropriate amount of attention?
Chromez: Google Calendar lol. The 24hrs we all get in a day can be managed easily with careful planning, that’s the only way to be efficient. I manage to perform all tasks and try as much as possible to get enough sleep, a tired mind tends to be less creative and I can’t risk that. I plan my days the way I want them to be, moreover I love what I do so I don’t have to drag myself to do anything especially because I set it up myself.
KAPA187: Yes, time management is key. Your Podcast is titled “Raw Conversations with Chromez”, tell us about it, but first off, for people who may not know, what is a Podcast?
Chromez: That sounds like a question DJ Envy of the Breakfast Club would ask lol. A Podcast is a digital audio/video file that is made exclusively for the internet, it can be downloaded or streamed on many different platforms.
“Raw Conversations with Chromez” is a Podcast I started doing back in late 2016 while I was still at Radio Phoenix.
While I was at Power FM, I hosted many celebrities as was mentioned earlier in this Q&A, I used to post every interview on the internet and they got received very well and so for a long time I had the idea to host a Podcast that focused on interviewing celebrities from all walks of life. Fast forward, my business partner and I acquired Microphones to use for projects under our company Rednovacane Media (Shameless plug lol) to produce content for pushthatlife.com (Another shameless plug, someone stop me lol). At this point the tools were available for the idea to be executed and so that’s how it started, it was received with great reviews and amassed a great fan base. A few things down the line got in the way of it being consistent but now it’s back and will be ongoing without any stoppages.
KAPA187: As you interview your celebrity guests on the podcast, do you have specific topics that you cover, or is every episode completely different?
Chromez: Each one of the episodes is completely different, some of them have had topics picked beforehand because some people like to know what questions will be asked during an interview before it starts or just for my own pre-production purposes. Others were just free flowing like the episode with Chanda Mbao or Tiye P, there was no script and yet they are some of the highly rated episodes because the conversation was embellished with a multitude of gems.
KAPA187: what advantages do Podcasts have over traditional radio shows?
Chromez: Traditional radio is beautiful but it is restrictive, most times there is so much to talk about but not enough time to really dissect topics. Think about the amount of time you were listening to a program like ‘Let The People Talk’ on Phoenix FM or ‘the Hot Seat’ on Hot FM or even ‘HardTalk’ on the BBC and the interviewer had to wrap things up quickly because there wasn’t enough time for them to go over everything. With a Podcast there is no time restriction, you can go as far as you can, shows like the ‘Joe Budden Podcast’ can go up to 3hrs sometimes and everything is worth listening to. Another thing that Podcasts have over traditional radio is freedom of expression, most program directors at radio stations tell their presenters to not go too far when talking about something like Politics because worst case scenario the radio stations license could be taken away from them. This is something that has happened in the past. With a Podcast, you don’t need a license and so you can’t be shut down unless you violate the terms of the service that’s hosting your show. The best advantage of them all is people can listen to the Podcast whenever they have the time to, thank God for the internet.
KAPA187: What technology (device, software) do you use to record your podcasts?
Chromez: Well it’s a simple set up, Microphones, a mixer to control volumes and a computer with Adobe CS6.
KAPA187: Tell us about the funniest thing that has happed during an interview?
Chromez: During one of the episodes, the guest, whom I won’t mention, put their phone on top of their shoe so as not to get distracted while recording. 1 hour into the episode the phone vibrated because someone was calling, they flipped out thinking it was some sort of creature that crept up their leg or something and so they ended up stomping on their phone. The phone went off and never switched on again, we laughed for at least 15 minutes lol
KAPA187: LOL, wow that must have been really hilarious. Tell us, what is the one mistake you see a lot of upcoming media personalities making? What advice would you give them?
Chromez: I see a lot of the young guys coming up neglecting the fundamentals of radio broadcasting, there are certain rules that are set in stone and in most cases a little guidance is needed for this. This can easily be avoided by doing two things, reading and following the steps of seasoned radio presenters. Reading is very essential, there are thousands of articles you can read to help gain knowledge in the field, with the world changing constantly, you cannot afford to be left behind. Paying attention to how seasoned presenters work will aid you by giving an idea on where you can take your craft but be careful not to fall into the trap of sounding exactly like your idol, you have to grow into your own and that may take some time but be patient with it, trust the process. It’s like how the late great media giant Dennis Liwewe described how he taught himself how to commentate soccer matches, he said he would record English commentators, then go into a secluded place and pay close attention to how they worked. He then started doing it himself but we all know for sure that he’s style is the most unique way of commentating in the history of sports.
KAPA187: That is great advice, any last words?
Chromez: I have to say thank you to everyone that has supported me from the start and those that joined along the way. Thank you for lending me your eyes and ears throughout this journey that I will not move away from. I have many ideas that are stashed away that I will continue executing as time goes by, there so much to do, sometimes ideas wake me up from my sleep and I spend hours writing them down and I know when they will be ready to be consumed. But for now enjoy “Raw Conversations with Chromez” that is available wherever you download/stream your favorite podcasts.
By KAPA KAUMBA