When you first hear the mention of Cleo ‘Ice Queen’ most likely you’ll think of a rap song, or maybe even a billboard but did you know she’s just as good at cooking up hits in the kitchen as in the studio booth?
“The process of writing and cooking, to be honest are quite similar but I feel cooking is a little easier, maybe because you already have an idea of what certain ingredients will taste like.
With making music, the beat and melody has to love you and evoke an emotion in you that brings out your harmony and direction of lyrical content. One thing is for sure though, both cooking and making music are therapeutic activities and you’re guaranteed something hot to satisfy your soul,” she reveals.
If she had to pick a last meal she says that it would have to be something really light. “Chicken and a salad; something with a lot of vegetables, gherkins, and olives. I love a greek salad with all the proper ingredients. I also love chicken and ribs, anything meaty,” she says excitedly as she looks over the many bowls of salad ingredients.
She is about to prepare one of her favourite meals with Chef Timothy Fortuin of Radisson Blu Hotel; chicken wings and spare ribs with Greek salad. Timothy heats up the pans in readiness to cook, as he asks her what dish in particular stirs up fond memories.
“The one recipe that brings back memories, I would say is chicken curry. It’s something I’ve always had growing up. It used to be a favourite of mine but now it feels like I have had so much of it. So I’m always trying to do other things with chicken other than chicken curry. My favourite dish to cook is grilled chicken breasts. I have a special recipe. You’ll need some lemon, olive oil, honey, Italian herbs, Portuguese chicken spice, garlic flakes and a little bit of salt, very little. Oh and black pepper, I can’t live without black pepper,” Cleo divulges.
We all have that one weird food combination which we really enjoy and for Cleo, that would be French fries and ice cream. “I use the ice cream as a dip.” She says with a grin.
When asked about what food she’d love to try she says that she’s tried everything that could possibly strike her fancy.
“I think I’ve eaten almost everything that I’ve ever wanted to eat, different cuisines. I wouldn’t like to try crocodile meat though, it might just turn me into one,” she jokes. “I had lobster in Namibia, it was good, a lot of people make a fuss about it, but I thought it was just okay.”
Cleo reveals that if she owned a restaurant it would probably serve a global cuisine as she’d want all to be welcome there. Speaking of welcoming, she details that if she was tasked to show tourists what life is really like where she lives she would take them to Bauleni compound first.
“That’s the closest compound to where I live in Leopards Hill; I use the market there, I go to the local Catholic church there and I’m involved in various community programmes there. I would also take them to one of my favorite hangout spot and restaurant; Chuma Grill at Radisson Blu.
They have lovely ambience, cocktails, amazing food and of course the most gorgeous swimming pool. Later we would go party at a local club with lots of Zambian music. I would then suggest a road trip to a game reserve or national park to show off our greenery, landscape and wildlife. Lastly, you cannot visit Zambia without visiting Livingstone and the Victoria Falls!”
She says that growing up in Lusaka has been a blessing to her as she witnessed the growth and immense development of many sectors and industries; from music to technology and lots more.
“Our little city is a mini version of most metropolitan cities worldwide. Lusaka will always have my heart. Most of my family is in Lusaka and it’s a great city filled with endless opportunities, especially in business.”
Cleo describes herself as ‘one of the most excited people about life,’ and is a firm believer that it’s up to her to ensure she has a new lease on life daily.
She has always wanted to be a performing artist and recalls performing Michael Jackson’s ‘Heal the World’ at her 4th birthday party.
“I do not believe in genres, I believe in the feeling. I always infuse my rap with many different elements like; jazz, soul, reggae, dancehall, disco, funk, EDM, house, the possibilities are endless. I feel genres are restricting…and I don’t like to be put in a box or be monotonous.”
Exictedly, she raves about the Zambian music scene. “The current state of the music scene in Zambia is on the brink of greatness! We are coming on strong and proving we are worth it. We have made it work with little to no resources, but never fail to deliver quality. To all the Zambian musicians that are investing in their craft, I’m proud of you and keep on soaring to higher heights.”
As we conclude, we ask her if she had to disappear and start a new life, what would this look like.
“I’d like to still have my lovely children…maybe even more…we’d live in a palace with an abundant supply of everything, enough for everyone in my household and enough for the people in my Queendom. We’d live happily ever after.