The dream of becoming a singer started back in primary school for Shekhinah.
“You learn to dream big in a small place like Durban,” she says.
“I remember my first performance being a school play in grade 7. Parents came up to my family after the play and were like, your child can really sing.”
The singer and songwriter then joined the church choir and that is where she where she learned to perform for different audiences.
And now, she has moved on from church choirs to dominating the music charts. Shekhinah’s growth has stunned both family and fans alike.
I meet the Suited singer at the Sony Music offices in Westdene, where I find her wrapping up another interview. Dressed in a pastel bucket hat, a grey dress and black combat boots, Shekhinah and her sister greet me warmly as we take our seats in the lounge-like room.
Since her stint on Idols in 2012, she has done a lot. She collaborated with Black Coffee and had two smash hits, one which featured Sketchy Bongo. With all that experience under her belt, her time has finally arrived. She released her debut album, Rose Gold this October.
From her voice to her sound, to her features, her album Rose Gold, is a celebration of black girl magic.
“Different in my own way/ Rose Gold, baby, In my own shade, baby yeah/ Living in a new age/Guess I’m just a limited edition,” she says on Rose Gold.
The album is filled with anthems for all the alternative black girls out there. “We matter, black girls, we matter. I just think I was so sick of being overlooked and that’s why I made Rose Gold.
“I wanted to stick with a more honest, truthful, melodic vibe for Rose Gold. I was definitely trying to keep it African and it was so difficult especially since my first language is English. I did not want to sound American or British so I was very very involved in the making of the sound and in ensuring that it sounds African,” she says.
The album features three black women, Mariechan, Asali and Rouge. Shekhinah had written a song for Mariechan before, and it was at that moment that she knew that she wanted her for the project.
“I was always so obsessed with her vocal ability. For me, as a songwriter, my dream is to work with someone that can bend and stretch like she can. Asali was a varsity mate of Shekhinah’s and her unique voice and lyrics are what stood out. Rouge writes better than most men. She’s one of the few artists that work just like me and I was just so impressed by her talent and her writing.”
We chat briefly about fashion and her face lights up. She describes her style as a mix of grunge and boho. “My style inspirations include Tamara Dey. She never drops the ball. Moozlie definitely, she is really repping that sportswear glam vibe. I mean who else can pull of an Adidas tracksuit top, skirt and glitter heels at 11 am. An icon Internationally it would be Kehlani and SZA. I loved watching SZA’s style evolution from the oversized T-Shirts and boots to showing more.”
Music and fashion arent her only love, Shekhinah has also fallen madly for Johannesburg.
“Joburg is everything to me. I completely fell in love with Jo’burg. I am in love with the cultural diversity that you find here. I have never been somewhere where I’ve felt like everyone is so unique and so driven and so talented.”
The Suited singer feels that the city and its concrete jungle were like parents to her. “It brought me up and made me the person that I am today. It made me strong.”
So the album has dropped, now what? What’s next for Shekhinah? “I just want to make music. I want to put my music out there and I want to share it with the world.”
Do yourself a favour and listen to Rose Gold on iTunes or Deezer.