Peace and love. That is what RoseGold symbolises. It is more than a debut album, it is a journey sewed in together in a form of melodies harmonised over hypnotic beats — for all of us. Song-writer and currently one of the best South African vocalists, Shekinah Donnell created this album to reveal not only her true-self but also as a tool in which we could use to see the world through her eyes. We sat down with her to get an insight into her world.
We were introduced to this charismatic artist with insane vocals in her short stint on musical talent show, Idols in 2011 and again in 2012, when she came back for seconds.
She has been doing music almost all her life as an active member at her mother’s church choir and her high school choir as well as constant participation in musical theatres in her teens.
She admits that singing wasn’t a big passion of hers until only after Idols, when she realised that music was always going to be something for her.
‘I now realised that all those commitments that I used to have towards the church and school choir kind of shaped and moulded me into the musician that i am today. The rehearsing on Thursdays and performing on Sundays made me feel like I’ve been shaping myself for these times.’
While her father and sister saw her potential way before she even realised it, Idols gave her the drive, ‘it showed me the life that I wanted to live. I wanted to live music.’
Following a few failed tries to break into the industry, Shekinah ‘fell by grace’ and got back up again with a release of ‘Back To The Beach’ with Kyle Deutsch.
The song became an instant hit but according to Shekinah, it was everything she was feeling at the time and letting it out was easy.
‘Back To The Beach was just something that was really on my chest. I realised that I was good at expressing my feelings through a mic and as soon as I said let’s ‘take it back to the beach’, everything was shaped around that.’
The song was followed many more others as collaborations with music greats such as Dj Sliq, Sketchy Bongo and Black Coffee.
‘I’m so grateful for these collaborations. I learnt so many things from each and everyone and that’s the beauty of collaboration. It allows you to step out of your comfort zone and grows you.’
‘DJ Sliqe pushed me to go for things I wouldn’t normally go for, Sketchy Bongo taught me a lot about the act of ‘doing’, while Black Coffee taught me more about where to draw the line musically and when not to overdo things.’
While we waited for her to drop an album, she calmed our patient impatience with ‘Suited’, which hit over a million views in just a few hours of release. This song ladies and gents, was written on her college bed.
‘Suited signifies the closure to Let You Know and all the sad shit. It’s very lightweight and positive. For me, it was a perfect way to come into the industry as Shekinah.’
RoseGold, the title came to be with the realisation of adulthood which comes attached to it with independency and countless responsibilities.
Shekinah jokes about going broke while creating this masterpiece because nobody warned her that adulting was this tough but we all have walked a thousand miles in her shoes.
‘With this album I wanted to portray debut things, things to represent my youth and where I am in life. I want to make things in my life perfect as I’m in now control now. I’m at the point where I want to make things the way I think they should be instead of what they are.’
The 12-track album is a seamless infusion of different production, featuring up tempo beats, trap-sound and neo-soul sound, as she melodically narrates stories of love lost, love gained, what it means to be an African woman in these modern times.
The album has club bangers like ‘Please Mr’, chill session tracks such as ‘Just Fine’, ‘Into The Jungle’, ‘Thirsty’ and slow jazzy-soul tracks for lazy days like ‘The Sound’ and the title track ‘Rose Gold’.
‘I wasn’t following a rubric. Just letting it happen is how most of my best songs came about. I made this music without trying to box it into just one genre.’
She cites her diverse family background as a collaborating factor in how she picks and writes music.
‘I grew up in a very diverse environment, therefore always ended up listening to different types of genres. My mom playing Diana Ross while my dad jamming on DMX, my brothers listening Kwaito and Hip-Hop.’
With a diverse musical influences, from Lauren Hill, Jill Scott, Tamia, Diana Ross, Cher, Madonna, Britney Spears and Brenda Fassie, it’s easy to understand why her sound is the way it is.
‘Music writing for me is a challenge. I want to be challenged. I want that gqom beat, I want that rock beat. I want to make all types of music. I don’t want to limit myself.’
Shekinah says it was important to showcase her favourite vocalists and also that she is sick and tired of people sleeping on talented artists.
She features Mariechan who was part of girl group, Jamali on ‘Different’, Mo (as she calls her) delivers a pure verse that could soothe your aching soul.
Rising Hip-Hop star, Rouge also delivers a fire flow on ‘Power To She’ which celebrates African queens.
Asali, fellow collage-mate singer and songwriter from Kenya serves soulful vocals on ‘The Sound.’
In future, she would like to collaborate with Falz and Tiwa Savage, both from Nigeria.
The 23-year-old Durbanite who resonates more with ‘Anyway I want’, ‘Please Mr’ and ‘Overdose’ will be all over the country and some parts of the continent for the entire festive season.
However, you can catch her opening up the Durban and Johannesburg show for John Legend. And if you’re a horse-racing fan, you’ll be able to catch her in Cape Town for the Sun Met in 2018.
The post Shekinah has arrived to make our lives <i>Rose Gold</i> appeared first on GQ South Africa.