Cape Town – Shekhinah is currently living a musical dream: she is the supporting act for global superstar Ed Sheeran on his current tour of South Africa, she opened for John Legend when he was in town last November, her album has gone platinum, and she won three of the big ones at the SAMAs this year.
And this weekend you can catch the 24-year-old at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.
But where did it all begin? Born Shekhinah Thandi Donnell in Durban in 1994, the pop/ R&B vocalist/ songwriter has actually been on the music scene since she was a little girl.
She performed and sang in musicals for many years throughout her childhood and early teens and landed her first big gig competing in South Africa’s seventh season of the hit television show Idols. On her first try, she made it to the Top 32 in 2011.
Though she was eliminated that year, Shekhinah entered again the next year in the eighth season and made it to the Top 6.
Post that Idols stint, Shekhinah established herself on the national stage by performing in a variety of corporate, government and public events, basing herself in Johannesburg.
She burst onto the popular stage with two number 1 hit singles in 2015/6 dominating the airwaves. Back to the Beach was a duet with Kyle Deutsch while Let You Know was a very popular Sketchy Bongo mix.
Also in 2016, she featured on Black Coffee’s single Your Eyes and Jesse Clegg’s Breathing.
Back to the Beach went on to be nominated for a Metro Music Award and a South African Music Award.
But, Shekhinah’s crowning achievement for 2016 was winning the MTV Africa Music Award for Best Pop & Alternative Song for Back to the Beach with Kyle Deutsch.
In 2017 Shekhinah signed to Sony Music and released her debut album Rosegold leading with the single Suited which has since been certified platinum. She followed that with Please Mr (certified gold) and Different, playing all over Africa and collaborating with international companies and artists throughout that year.
In between all the performing Shekhinah managed to complete her Life Performance degree at The South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance (AFDA) in 2017.
Last year she led the pack at the South African Music Awards with six nominations, winning three of the big ones – Album of the Year, Best Female Artist and Best Newcomer – plus she was nominated for Best African Act at the MTV European Music Awards.
Rosegold was also nominated in six categories at the All Africa Music Awards and Shekhinah eventually won Best Female Artist in Southern Africa and Songwriter of the Year.
The album Rosegold is certainly living up to its name as it was quickly certified gold in South Africa and is now at platinum status (which means it has sold more than 30 000 copies).
A few months after Spotify launched in South Africa in March last year Shekhinah was recognised as one of the most popular local artists on the streaming portal. To mark the portal’s six-month birthday they released statistics which showed Suited had been streamed more than 800 000 times and her single Different, which features Jamali’s Mariechen, has also proven to be very popular.
* Catch Shekhinah at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival on Friday 29 March 2019. Tickets available at www.computicket.com