By SHANA ROSE
Pima Community College has been a stepping stone for students who want to influence their community and follow their dreams.
Chezale Rodriguez, a 2003 PCC alumnus, is one of those students. The local singer, dancer, actor and model is also known as Lady Maverick but now goes by Chezale.
“Lady Mav is definitely the most popular alias that I gave myself,” Chezale said.
Chezale chose “maverick” while looking for a word to describe herself.
She recalled her childhood, and remembered how she never stuck to one group of friends and always marched to her own beat.
By definition, a maverick is an unorthodox or independent-minded person. The term was the perfect choice, though she decided to feminize her alias by adding “Lady.”
When Chezale was pursuing her liberal arts degree at PCC, she performed with her dance crew during halftime for basketball games and sang at events held by Student Life.
She also participated in annual youth leadership conferences co-sponsored by Pima and the League of United Latin American Citizens.
Years after graduating, LULAC recruited Chezale to serve on the planning committee for its “520’s Top Dance Crew.”
She served as a judge for the event, which features local high school dance crews battling it out for cash prizes. Michael Montoya, Anthony Reyes and Addison Johnson joined Chezale on the judge’s panel.
“They were looking for judges with knowledge of dance and we’re all teachers,” Chezale said. “They were looking for people that have been around for awhile. We’re not new on the scene.”
LULAC presented the panel and planning committee with a community service award last year.
Chezale’s passion for dance has always gone hand in hand with her music.
She has released two albums, “MY STORY … The Making of a Maverick” in 2007 and “MAVMUZIK” in 2014.
She spent the time in between working on her sound and style. She also collaborated with other local artists and performed at shows.
“My goal was for growth and to evolve,” she said. “Over a period of seven years, the sound changes. Sonically and technically, it’s different.”
Her goal, she said, is not so much about keeping up with the wave as it is about putting out good music – “stuff that people can feel, and quality.”
Chezale’s mother and biggest supporter, Sonja Rodriguez, has witnessed the music’s evolution and dedication.
“She’s constantly re-inventing herself,” Rodriguez said. “She’s always on the grind. She’s constantly booking shows, performing and owning her craft.”
Sounds on “MAVMUZIK” include rhythm and blues, hip-hop and soul.
Some of her influences are Lauryn Hill, MC Lyte and Aaliyah.
“I would like to do something with a reggae vibe,” Chezale said. “I haven’t done straight acoustic ballad, piano. I want to even experiment with a little hip-hop rock.”
Chezale is confident she’ll maintain her personal style no matter what genre she chooses.
“I can make them all still sound like me,” she said.
She hopes people from all walks of life can relate to her albums, and even censored “MAVMUZIK” for her younger audience.
“The number one thing for me is to influence people and touch them in some way with my music,” she said. “I want to say something. There’s enough junk out there already.”
“MAVMUZIK” is available on all major online digital stores.
Visit Chezalepresents.com for more information.