Former Idols SA Top 5 finalist, Shekhinah, who has gone on to carve her own success in the music world, is performing at NickFest 2017. Picture: Supplied

Tenacity and passion are the two things that drove Shekhinah to follow through with her musical ambitions. 

After gravitating to musicals Hairspray and Suessical in 2010 and 2011, the Durban-born singer tried out for the eighth season of Idols SA in 2012, but she didn’t get as far as she hoped.

She says, “After I had seen the competition on the television, something changed in me and I realised that this was something I wanted to do.

“So, the next year when the competition opened up again, I made sure I was there and I gave it my all. 

I was super prepared, excited and outspoken. And I was trying my best to make it. I did well. After that I started to gig and work.”

Not long after she completed her schooling, she headed to Jozi.

Unlike the fictionalised stories of singer/songwriters getting their big breaks, in the real world, this was not the case.

Shekhinah got a crash course in how difficult things were – every step of the way.

She recalls, “It’s been a long journey from my first Idols audition. I moved to Joburg in 2013 to try to get a record deal. It didn’t work out that well.

“My attempt at making some connections were embarrassingly unsuccessful. I guess I got to learn how the industry works and how people work. That was a bad financial year for me.

“Then my parents advised me to go to college; actually, they kind of didn’t give me a choice. I had to either go to college or come back home to Durban.

“I decided to study at AFDA (the South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance) in Johannesburg. It was the only school that had a music course and I wanted to do music.”

She adds, “I’m graduating on Friday with a Bachelor of Arts in Live Performance.”

Of course, she has several other reasons to celebrate. She is in the process of launching her debut album on the back of her hugely successful track, Back To the Beach, with Kyle Deutsch.

More recently, she has been invited to perform at this year’s NickFest, along with Nasty C. The Goliaths – Jason, Donovan and Nicholas – will be hosting the family-friendly event at the TicketPro Dome.

Nickleodeon superstar characters from SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, as well as the lovable pups from Paw Patrol, will be at the event.

There will also be a slime area, along with an interactive play centre.

About her song becoming a mega-hit, she says, “I basically reflected on my first year in Johannesburg, the second year in college and how I wasn’t really cracking anything.

“I was really missing home. I pictured myself at the beach and the song really became an organic process of writing with Kyle.”

On being asked to perform at NickFest, she says, “I’m super excited. I never got to go as a kid. But I’ve been a Nickleodeon fan since I was a child.

“I still watch the cartoons,” she adds.

Aside from Back To the Beach, she will also be doing a song from her upcoming album.

She adds, “The whole album is basically an introduction to me (as a singer). I’ve dropped most of the collaborative ideas.”