……………………………….First Zambian artist to sign to Def Jam Africa and Johnnie Walker
Zambian hip hop star and television & radio presenter, Cleo Ice Queen, has joined the international cast of top African talent signed to Johnnie Walker as a brand ambassador while also signing a deal with Def Jam Records Africa, both bold steps in her award-winning career trajectory.
“I’m in an exciting place to be in my career. My journey so far has been really empowering and is something I hope will inspire other female artists in Zambia. I’m looking forward to the steps I’m taking in collaboration with Johnnie Walker and Def Jam Africa,” says Cleo, who released Zambia’s first female hip hop album, “Genenice”, back in 2015.
As Johnnie Walker’s first ambassador partnership in Zambia, Cleo is now receiving the same kind of global attention as do the likes of Nigerian star Burna Boy and producer Don Jazzy,and K Pop star, CL, and Formula 1 star Jensen Button, all of whom have collaborated with Johnnie Walker.
“We want to applaud the steps Cleo has taken in her career as well as recognize her as the role model she has become across Africa and in Zambia specifically. She has proven that nothing defines your path as much as talent and hard work and we are behind Cleo as she strides boldly on great projects with both Johnnie Walker and Def Jam Africa,” says Deshnie Govender, Brand Manager Johnnie Walker & IPS Partner Emerging Markets.
The first Zambian artist signed by Def Jam Africa, underlining her credentials as a boundary-pusher and creative powerhouse, Cleo won Best Female (Southern Africa) in the All Africa Music Awards held in Lagos last November.
Says Thabo Ngwenya, Def Jam Recordings Africa Partnerships Manager & Culture Specialist:
“It is with great pleasure to have Cleo Ice Queen join the Def Jam Recordings Africa family. Her recent partnership with Diageo’s Johnnie Walker will truly redefine how we ‘keep walking’ the journey to develop African music culture and export to global markets. With her recent AFRIMMA awards win, it’s without a doubt that she is well on her way to becoming the global superstar we believe she is.”
Her first single, fittingly titled “Big Dreams”, was released in 2012 and in her career so far, Cleo has worked with the likes of AKA, Ice Prince, Nasty C, Bucie and Khuli Chana and also won the AFRIMMA Best Female in Southern Africa Award in 2017.
Other talent who have joined the Johnnie Walker family as the brand strides boldly into emerging regions in Africa include Mozambiquan rapper Dygo.