By: Tasneem Amos

The month of June has always been dedicated to the youth and the power that they possess. It’s been used as a month to commemorate struggle and celebrate success. It’s been used as a month to encourage and inspire people to push boundaries and stand firm for what they believe in; pretty much the same values and principles we at SA Bloggers stand for. We have decided to dedicate this issue to youth who are doing great things.

We recently chatted to the multiple award-winning and boundary-breaking Shekhinah . Being just 23 and having accomplished all she has, it was only natural that she would be suited for this month’s edition.

We spoke about her music journey, struggles, success and future aspirations. It’s apparent that the youth of our country have a lot to offer.

Shekhinah on her musical journey 

When did music become your reality and a potential career path?  It started in grade 10. I was selected to partake in a high school play. All high school kids auditioned for Rainbow Chicken young performers. They took high school students and put them in a professional environment, on a professional stage with a professional vocal coach and director and with a well-known story like Hairspray.

We did three months of preparation and then on stage for a month during the school holidays. I then realized that performing, vocal coaching, back-stage working and singing was what I wanted to do. I felt at home.

Having entered Idols twice, walk us through your Idols journey and your thoughts on the experience – Idols is such a beautiful and special experience because it exposes you to the industry and all it entails; the audience, the glitz, the glams and prime time TV. You get to understand the world from that point of view. It gives you a taste of the lifestyle and takes it away from you when the competition is done. It made me want to strive to get back to that the point and the environment and has been a huge inspiration to me.

Shekhinah on youth in today’s time and struggles

What do you think is going wrong with the youth of today in terms of their work ethic, mannerism and approach to life in general? I think life is hard. I don’t blame and dont judge our youth because it’s hard to inspire someone to wake up to struggle; no food, life, situations, no school or tuition fees and then to own it. A contributing issue in my opinion is the lack of role models and examples on the projectory of hard work; how did she do that, what were her challenges etc. I think that is another reason I work so hard to keep pushing because I want to be an example to other people out there. I personally have not had a lot of examples but I do have one and that is SZA. Seeing her go through, overcome and achieve so much just inspires me to keep on.

Message to the youth? You need to believe in yourself first before looking for the acceptance from other people. You also have to dream it to believe it.

Shekhinah on success 

What has been your driving factor for success?  I always want to do the impossible. I always get inspired when doors close, especially when people tell you can’t do it.

With regards to the Rose Gold album and having it gone to gold status with “Suited” reaching diamond status: Was that ever a specific goal for you? Not at all, I didn’t even know what diamond status was. What I do remember, is that this time last year I attended the SAMA’s for a record of the year nomination. I remember Kwesta had had tracks that reached diamond status at the time and someone told me that next year this time, it will be me. I didn’t foresee it happening but it did. When I received the news, I was grateful and excited that people still listen to the music and support the craft.

What was the inspiration behind the album? I just wanted to showcase myself. Everything I previously done was in collaboration with other artists. This was the first time I spearheaded any project. I really wanted to ensure that the listener hears all sides of me and where I’m trying to go. I also remember thinking about the phrase “Rose gold tinted shades” and it speaks to the naïve way of looking at life. Seeing everything as love and light; you searching for rose gold and trying to make ugly situations, turn beautiful. It is the theme through-out the album and that’s where the title of the album stemmed from.

With the SAMA nominations and wins, how does it feel to have achieved what you have? Being here is a sign to me that I can achieve it all and has encouraged to dream bigger. I realised that I needed to widen the capacity of my dreams. I’m at that point in my life where I’m dreaming new dreams and looking to restructure my mind to not be complacent and to just keep working harder.

Shekhinah on her future aspirations

What can we look forward to from you, in the months to come? We’re looking at the Rose Gold anniversary for the album and because “she” did so well, we’re looking at a Rose Gold Album tour in the country. It’s huge for me and my brand because I don’t really have an idea of how to do it since females don’t generally tour in the country but I’m excited to do it anyway. I’m planning on incorporating a lot of visuals and there’s a new music video for “Different” out. There is also lots new music, which will only be for next year.

One of the most down-to-earth people I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to indeed. The Rose Gold Album tour is set to take place towards the end of this year. For more information on Shekhinah; her whereabouts, gigs and announcements, follow her social media handles or visit her website.

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