She made the top 32 in the 7th season of the show and returned to the competition the following year where she finished in the top six. After Idols, Shekhinah’s star continued to rise.
In 2016, she released two #1 singles with “Back to the Beach” and “Let You Know”. The first was nominated for a Metro Music Award and a South Africa Music Award (SAMA). The following year, she released her debut album, “Rosegold”. The certified platinum record included singles like “Suited” and “Please Mr” which were both certified platinum while “Different” was certified gold.
The album also earned her six SAMA nominations including Album of the Year, Best Female Artists, and Best Newcomer. She also earned international recognition with an MTV EMA nomination for Best African Act while nabbing six AFRIMA nominations and she won two with Best Female Artist in Southern Africa and Songwriter of the year. Her talent is certainly clear.
Her massive success saw her perform across the continent and open for international superstars like John Legend, Toni Braxton, and Ed Sheeran for their respective world tours.
Watch a short film about Shekinah below:
In the midst of all this, Shekhinah was facing some scary health issues. In 2019, the songstress underwent three surgeries to remove some nodules and her tonsils. This forced her to take a hiatus from music and she withdrew from public life to recover.
“Everyone told me that I sounded fine and okay but for me, inside, everything changed. [I’ve been through] a lot of vocal and speech therapy. I went to many doctor’s appointments, just trying to make sense of how my voice would sound in my head. It’s all an internal thing and everything sounds different. It all sounded so weird for me, and there was a point where I just felt like I wasn’t myself, I didn’t have the same voice. So that affected me a lot. I was just in my head a lot of the time,” Shekinah explains.
So, although her health was back to normal, her confidence took longer to fully recover. The songstress’s surgeries affected the way she approached music and she often worried about whether her voice would ever be the same.
This seeped into her creative process and delayed her in the creation and release of new music. Her latest album, “Trouble in Paradise”, launched in May 2021, took about three years to complete as it was a difficult project to put together.
“I felt like I had imposter syndrome. I knew what I wanted to say but I didn’t have the words. I felt like I was letting everyone down and I kind of started to take all of that on and overthink everything to the point where I just couldn’t work on the project. I took long breaks [from recording] and distracted myself with other things,” the Durban-raised singer said.
But then a switch flipped and Shekhinah zoned into finishing the project. The result: a brilliantly crafted and bold piece of music that is arguably her best work.
Shekhinah adds, “Eventually I was like you know what, I need to get to this project, and I need to finish it. I put my head down and I did it. The song ‘Trouble in Paradise’ signifies in my career that I’m doing this, I’m on the right path and this is what I’m supposed to be doing.”
Listen to Trouble in Paradise on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/album/1ltjerRedPrqqpM0Nb1MXl
or on Apple Music here: https://music.apple.com/ng/album/trouble-in-paradise/1532428621
Images: Sony Music
Words: Lee Nxumalo @leewritesalot
Editor: Nikki Temkin @NikkiTemkin