Before bringing her musical insights and talents to Columbia, Chaye Alexander was known as a radio personality in New York City, where she won the hearts of listeners with her musical eclecticism and warm, charismatic demeanor.
The success of her radio broadcast led to Alexander being offered the television show, “Have U Heard,” where she presented talents such as Dionne Warwick, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Eric Benet, Jody Watley, TLC, Teddy Riley, Melba Moore, Najee and others. In 2009, to gain more control over her concept, Alexander launched Chayz Lounge Radio, which began as the online radio station and virtual space to enjoy R&B and jazz.
To the delight of music lovers in Columbia, she earlier this month opened a storefront for Chayz Lounge at Nonnah’s restaurant in the Vista as a venue for up-close-and-personal performances by local and national jazz and rhythm and blues artists.
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Being Jamaican-born, I can truly speak to the authenticity of the cuisine at Island Grill Jamaican restaurant. There are many Jamaican restaurants around town, but no one has captured the flavors of my island in the way Island Grill has. Their dishes are simply delicious. I love sushi and seize every opportunity to indulge at my favorite sushi restaurant, Miyo’s. In my opinion, their Philadelphia rolls are by far the best in Columbia. I enjoy exploring different restaurants, and among my favorites are Rioz Brazilian Steakhouse, Motor Supply Co., Rosso Trattoria Italia, The Gourmet Shop, Blaze Pizza and Nonnah’s.
I love, love, love a good pomegranate martini. The two places I’ve found that have the recipe down to a science are Rosso Trattoria Italia and Bonefish Grill. I’m not a big drinker, but when I’m in the mood for a good “pomegranate ’tini,” I can trust either place to get it right.
Despite popular belief, there is a lot to do in Columbia. I’ve enjoyed visiting the Columbia Museum of Art and the South Carolina State Museum. Of the many parks in our town, I enjoy the walking trails of Riverfront Park most. The beautiful water views make me forget all the chaos in the world. I also enjoy the Soda City Market on Saturdays and attending shows and films at the Nickelodeon Theatre.
I’m a music lover, so wherever there is live jazz and rhythm and blues concerts, chances are that is where you’ll find me. I have enjoyed music at the Township Auditorium, the Koger Center, the live outdoor concert series in Finlay Park and Forest Acres’ Rooftop Rhythm at Richland Mall.
I have enjoyed seeing the city’s growth since moving here 12 years ago. My absolute favorite thing to do is to jump in my car and cruise around downtown. Our city’s downtown is filled with historic landmarks and offers the warm, comfortable feeling of a small town, with hints of big city flavors. It’s what sold me on this city and made me move here.