If you thought that radio bops were the only type of music former 'Idols SA' contestant Shekhinah could produce, you thought wrong.The singer recently released her debut album, Rose Gold, and performed on the monthly 5 Live studio sessions at the Red Bull Studios in Cape Town on Friday, October 27.
This is not only the Back to the Beach singer’s first time at the studio but also the first time she is performing Rose Gold live. The 12-track LP finds the singer taking a jump from the hook-heavy tracks she’s known for which allows the listener to get to know the singer behind the amazing voice.
The reason for her taking this route is that she thought that people didn’t really know her and that this was her reintroduction to the world. “I wanted everybody to know the things I like and what I don’t like in one album,” she said.
Rose Gold also finds the singer sonically going in a different direction compared to Back the Beach and the DJ Black Coffee produced track, Your Eyes.
Songs such as Overdose and Just Fine see the singer not subscribing to traditional song structure and even borrowing from jazz, with its chord structure. She states that, previously, all the songs she did were collaborative.
“It’s this guy’s song and I would jump on it. So, I (then) haven’t really chosen a sound.”
While the singer states that the album does not have any specific influences, she does credit Jill Scott, Lauryn Hill, Cher, Britney Spears, Beyonce and Diana Ross as her personal musical influences.
Listening to the album live, it is clear that the singer pulls from all of the artists above. Her debut album is also self-produced with her recording the album at her house, along with her team - Goofy, Scales and Luthando.
They initially started recording Rose Gold in a studio, but the singer and her team choose to record at her house. They partly made that decision based on cost, but also because of the restrictions that came with studio sessions.
“We were restricted to time and we were restricted by creativity. And when we decided to let go of the producer at his studio and go home, my team stayed at my house.”
The singer also doesn’t record in the morning because she “sounds like a man” and by moving the recording sessions to her house, they could record whenever she was ready. While it was much easier recording at her house, with the next album they aim to be more professional.
A former contestant on Idols SA, Shekhinah garnered huge success there and is considered a real artist.
Speaking of this experience she said: “Idols is tricky because you don’t know what you are getting into. And when you go there, most people want to be on TV and want to sing. But the people who really know the competition, like Khaya Mthethwa, know why they are taking part in it. Most people who go on Idols just watched the show and don’t know how to equip themselves.”
The first time Shekhina auditioned, she was like most people, but before going on the show for the second time, she went to AFDA and studied music performance, which prepared her for her appearance. Her lecturer at AFDA is a former Idols SA vocal coach and she structures the course to mimic the music industry.
“We had songwriting class, we had music business class and the exam was always a show. We had to present the production file ... and then we had to put on a show and invite people to the show. ”
She added that the system that AFDA uses really works for her and that nothing has changed and they’re doing the same thing in the real world. This is the reason she thinks that she is experiencing such huge success since Idols SA.
For the singer’s lead single, 'Suited', Shekhinah self-funded the music video. She says she will never do that again. While the end product came out spectacularly, with the video gaining over two million views on YouTube, the process of getting there wasn’t easy: “We didn’t have a location for the last part (of the music video) and an hour before that, Sumting Fresh (restaurant) was like, yeah, we can open for you. So we ended up filming us chilling.”
Speaking about her trip to Kenya for her collaboration with Jason Derulo for an upcoming Coke Live Studio episode, the singer only had pleasant things to say about the American singer and that it was quite an experience.