Internationally acclaimed singer-songwriter Shekhinah opens up about her evolution, collab with Sunglass Hut and boss babe energy.
We’re excited to present our August - Women’s Month issue; powered by women for women. We have two covers this month so you already know you’re in for a treat.
We actually can’t decide which cover we love more because both Shekhinah and Karabo Poppy are such dynamic powerhouses. The collaboration between the stars and Sunglass Hut is also an iconic one. Seeing as pairs seem to the main theme for this issue, it would’t be such a bad idea to get yourself 2 copies.
In the interim, we offer you a glimpse of Shekhinah’s cover story. Be sure to check out Karabo’s too.
We last caught up with Shekhinah when she starred on the cover of our 2020 Disruptors issue shortly after the country went into a hard lockdown. We’re ecstatic to meet up with her at the One Park restaurant in Gardens, a curated space where music, food, and art connect – and the perfect location for our cover shoot. She exudes infectious energy, and I can’t wait to find out how she’s been since gracing our cover.
“It’s been a crazy time! I’ve done a lot of growing up as well as restructuring at home and work. This pandemic has been a whirlwind, but by the grace of God, we live to see another sunrise and sunset, and for that, I couldn’t be more grateful.”
Her highly anticipated sophomore album, Trouble in Paradise, released in 2021, after a four-year hiatus since her debut album, Rose Gold, has received rave reviews.
Her fans didn’t know how to act when it finally dropped. About her creative process, she says it was a journal of the past three years since Rose Gold summed up in a 45-minute album. “My process for any project is documenting my emotions or feelings through song and updating them as I go until it eventually feels like a well- constructed chapter of my life I’m ready to share.” The reception blew her away. “It’s proof of the love and support people have for my music. It exceeded my expectations!”
So how’s the follow-up album different from the first one? “I think it’s because I love the album from start to finish. I took my time and put my feelings before everyone else’s.
I made the album for me.” Leading up to the release of Trouble in Paradise, she released Fixate, a thought- provoking short film that takes viewers on a journey of self-love and actualization through art. “I feel it was the most beautiful collaboration I’ve ever done with poets, directors and sound engineers. “They showed up and came to understand the story of Fixate. It’s a conversation I had with myself about the desire to be a player on my team. Sometimes, we don’t focus on or support ourselves through difficult times and life changes. We visually represent the idea of learning to love you, yourself.”
Her approach to storytelling is intriguing. She describes it as ever-changing, “I’m still learning, but at its core, it’s to try my best to be as honest as possible, and to only talk about what I know or have experienced.” Through her art, she’d love the world to know music is her therapy and contribution to society, whether in front of the mic or behind the scenes. “Music is my world. I’ll do my best to hold your hand through song and bring you clarity and peace through living authentically and speaking about it honestly.”
Shekhinah’s sound is eclectic, and her style transcends place and time – you could envision her anywhere in the world. Curious about what made the star, I ask her to paint a picture of her childhood growing up in Durban. “It was filled with fun, games and God. My mother was our local priest, and my father lives a life of service to communities in need. I grew up in a loving yet diverse home.” She nostalgically recalls her school days, “filled with extramural activities such as ballet, dance or drama classes and choir practice.” She attributes her work ethic and discipline to those classes. “I’m grateful to my parents for encouraging and supporting a life outside of sports or academia.” Tracing her love for music to her family, she shares that her mom sang to her often, and her older brothers loved listening to music. “For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved music.”
Whilst most artists were finding their voice in the industry, she cemented herself with Rose Gold, which earned her multiple nominations and awards, including Newcomer of the Year, Album of the Year and Female of the Year at the 24th South African Music Awards (SAMAs). Her experience of the entertainment industry has been nothing short of amazing. “I’ve lived, laughed and seen the world at such a young age, but I’m nowhere near where I see myself in the future, and that excites and challenges me. I hope to be in the entertainment industry for as long as I can.” And she says her come up is one of her biggest highlights. “I think, looking at where I am now, I’m so proud of myself for going through everything I did without knowing for sure it’d lead me here.” Her lessons? “I’ve learnt to always take it slow, to not rush anything, which means trusting the process and the dream, and allowing things to happen as organically as possible for the most peaceful and rewarding outcomes.”
She also notes that although the industry has made strides in terms of female representation, there’s still a long way to go, “but so far so good I want to tip the scale, even if its for a short while, and allow females to be the common denominator.” as she continues to make waves with her chart- topping music, she says her approach to occupying space in 2022 is to be a boss babe unapologetically. And “embrace me and allow my TLs to reflect less of a highlights reel and more of a real-life one. It’s to shine in whatever way feels right in the moment.”
Self-love is a dominant theme in her journey. She’s evolving as a woman and an artist. This sparks my curiosity about her approach to self-care. “It involves spending time alone, anywhere, anyhow, which I often find uncomfortable, as I love noise, but self-care means allowing myself to be still and let my monkey mind relax for a moment.” Taking time out allows her to bring her A-game when the stage lights go on, ensuring she brings out every shade of Shekhinah in the best possible way. What else does this speak to? “Trying to honor the detail, I guess, and putting time and effort into the small things. And, honestly, keeping people around me who see me and challenge me to be better. I couldn’t do it alone; they’re essential to what I do and who I am today.”
The star has captured the attention of brands, including the global eyewear brand Sunglass Hut. “This collaboration has been a thing since the beginning of my career, but its ‘Find Every Shade of You’ campaign is the biggest thing I’ve ever done with them. I look forward to more collaborations with the amazing team that made that happen.” Her favourite shades? “My Celines are my fave! They have a funky cat’s-eye shape that I live for, whether on a hike, on stage or being cool at my local Woolies. I’m always wearing them!” And she says the role of shades in her life depends on the season. “In summer, I need them for daytime performances on stage, and in winter, I’ve been experimenting with using them as an accessory more than eye care. I love a pair of shades at night – big rule-breaker energy!” Considering Sunglass Hut curates luxury and lifestyle eyewear, this also speaks to her approach to brand alignment. “My art is lifestyle-inspired, ‘Diamonds Do’, from Trouble in Paradise, speaks to the desires of young women to be showered with luxuries, such as diamonds and love.”
Inspired by everyday life, she says our shared experiences, fears and fantasies always make for the best storytelling through song. “When curating a song or body of work, it always has to align with where I am in my life or where I was when I wrote that particular song – it has to be authentic.” She affirms that as the world continues to shift, music is there to guide emotions or even help contextualize them. “We don’t always have the words, but songs help us find them. Music is therapy, inspirational and entertaining. I think that with the shifts and changes, it’s cool to see platforms such as TikTok encourage and inspire more people to make music or even share it.”
Grab your digital copy of Glamour’s 2022 Women’s Issue, here or pick up a physical copy now available in-stores nationwide.