Chmba is a DJ and music producer from Malawi who has achieved an international profile few can match.
At an early age she started to pull apart her family’s cassettes in order to extract a track that she wanted to include in her own mix tapes: “I was whipped a couple of times for tearing apart a mix which I shouldn’t have!”
She has come a long way since then. She has DJed for none other than the queen of pop, Madonna on one of her many visits to Malawi.
“She walks into the room and looks at me, full eye contact and I’m like yikes, what have I done?”
Chmba needn’t have worried, Madonna just wanted to overrule the party organiser who had told Chmba to only play cool jazz: “She said, ‘Can you play some Afrobeats, pump it up, just do you!’ They were supposed to dance until around 12am but the party kept going until 4am!”
Clearly Chmba made an impression. A few months after that Madonna summoned her to Los Angeles to DJ for her at an Oscars afterparty with A-list celebrities in attendance.
She has subsequently opened for Grammy Award winners including Angélique Kidjo and Nile Rogers.
Chmba has been named Glamour Magazine’s woman of the year and her charitable work has earned her recognition from Forbes and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, among others.
Her brand new EP, Okongola Caucus, drops on Friday 16 June.
“I’d say it’s Afrofuture sounds. Some songs lean towards more of a bass house, other towards Afrobeats, but all of the songs have samples of very traditional Malawian drums and then you’ll also hear electronic synths as well.”