Every now and then, in comes an artist that oozes so much cool it compels everyone to sit up and take notice. Durban songstress Shekhinah is one such artist. Her debut album Rose Gold was like nothing we’d heard out of South Africa, and she’s just been nominated for an MTV EMA as a result. The fusion of R&B, soul, pop synth and laid-back EDM were pure joy, so we’ve gone back to give it another listen, a year since its release.
You’ll recall, Shekhinah’s first taste of the spotlight came during a stint on season 8 of South Africa’s Idols in 2012, in which she progressed all the way to the top five. Not very long afterwards, we started hearing more of her on our airwaves with a feature on ‘Back To The Beach’ with fellow Idols contestant Kyle Deusche. After that, the collaborations came in fast, with her lending her rich and sultry voice to productions by Sketchy Bongo and Black Coffee. She earned herself an MTV Africa Music Award in 2016 for Best Pop & Alternative – all before releasing any of her own material.
By the time Rose Gold dropped last October, it had been eagerly anticipated by all who witnessed Shekhinah’s rise to fame. It lived up to the hype, and it was worth the wait. Often with debut albums from young-ish artists, we are subjected to bodies of work that try to please a great variety of listening tastes, but end up lacking an authentic and identifiable thread. Not with this funky 24-year-old. This is a very self-assured offering – it’s the work of an artist who is very sure of how she wants to be received and knows exactly who she is musically. This is probably a result of the experience she has gained over the her last five years in the industry; she has distilled her sound and honed her vocal skills.
The first single, Suited, still receives airplay on all the big stations – for good reason – and sits comfortably on 5.5 million views on YouTube. The singles that followed are no different – anything Shekhinah touches turns to (rose) gold. The quality production, incredible song-writing and sultry voice are all the clues we need that she’ll have that EMA in the bag.
There aren’t any skippable songs on this record but we recommend you pay close attention to ‘Into the Jungle’, ‘Different’ ft Mariechan, ‘The Sound’ and ‘Thirsty’. What sets Rose Gold apart from many other albums from other artists who are big right now is it’s actually very good but also fun and light. If we were to compare her to anyone, she fits perfectly next to the likes of SZA and Jorja Smith for her effortless cool and how easy she is to love.
You can find an exclusive interview with Shekhinah in Marie Claire’s October issue, where she speaks about the inspiration behind this gorgeous album. Plus: we played 20 questions with Shekhinah – check out her answers below.