“From the heart, for the heart,” is how a Langley City singer-songwriter describes his music.
At the beginning of the month, John “Chamelion” released a debut single titled I Love You For You, which is in the running for CBC’s Music Searchlight contest – a hunt for Canadian musicians of all genres – as of Tuesday, Feb. 5.
“I chose ‘Chamelion’ because I feel like I am moving from a rather timid lizard-like fear of rejection, creatively speaking, to living in a bold lion-like way where the world is a stage to share my heart,” explained Chamelion.
Public voting for the contest runs until Thursday, Feb. 14, and people can vote for Chamelion once a day online at: VoteToday.ca.
The grand prize winner will earn a spot in the Allan Slaight Juno Master Class, a week in a recording studio, and a spot at the CBC Music Festival performance.
Chamelion explained I Love You For You was inspired by a conversation with his father.
“It was inspired from the day I told my dad that I wanted to be a singer and that’s not what he wanted me to be. On one level it’s about the importance of seeking to see, love and accept people for who they are and not what they do, or don’t do.”
After telling his father his dreams, Chamelion said his father responded by tell Chamelion to bring home a Grammy Award.
“Daddy Wants A Grammy was the original title of the song that even had the line ‘daddy wants a Grammy, wants a J, J, Juno too, when all I really want is all I love you for you.’ The song then became more universal and became the title track of my upcoming album I Love You For You,” he explained.
Although I Love You For You is Chamelion’s debut single, he has been performing “on and off” for more than 30 years.
“I’ve played from the streets of South Africa to clubs in Canada, both as a solo musician and different bands,” explained Chamelion, who sings and plays the guitar.
One year ago, Chamelion began his first album, which has many more original songs on it, but is yet to be released.
Chamelion referenced the phrase “swan song,” and said it led him to create his very own phrase.
“I created the phrase ‘Chamelion Song,’ a bold work of art that gives a ‘better late than never’ creative soul a new heart. I want to encourage people to explore and embrace and develop their creative abilities no matter what their age.”
Chamelion’s love of music started when he was a teen and would sing around the house but “didn’t understand why my dad would yell at me to shut up.”
“The bathroom and shower became my refuge and stage. Thankfully my Ukrainian grandmother shared my love for singing and making music. She encouraged me by secretly slipping me $50 bills for voice lessons and saying, ‘don’t tell papa.'”
After graduating high school, Chamelion enrolled in Capilano University’s music program but dropped out due to personal reasons and too much pressure, although he never stopped singing and writing.
Born and raised in North Vancouver, Chamelion describes his music as “folk-rock” with various styles depending on mood.
Over the years, Chamelion said the hardest parts of being a singer-songwriter have been isolation and funding.
“The isolation of the creative process is hard at times though that’s when I create best and the fact that I’m having to do everything a team of people would do which leaves less time and energy to create, rehearse, play and enjoy. And I still have to work on the side to help pay the bills right now.”
Fortunately through a music grant provided by Creative BC, Chamelion was able to record the album.
While he’s not producing music, Chamelion operates an organization called Words Of Mouth Arts Network (WOMAN) which operates under the mandate that when Chamelion performs future concerts, some proceeds of ticket sales will go towards an organization that helps women and children.
Chamelion’s next single is set to be released in March.
For more information and to hear I Love You For You, visit: http://chamelionsong.ca/