Nasty C and Shekhinah Reflect on One Major Year

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After this last year, no one can deny that Shekhinah and Nasty C are amongst the best that South African music has to offer and are well on the way to legendary status. 

The numbers are pretty undeniable too! On 13 March 2019, Spotify , the biggest global streaming service celebrated a full year in the South African market and with that announced that since their local launch last March, Suited-singer Shekhinah was the only woman in Spotify’s top streamed artists in its 1st 11 months in SA while Nasty C secured the number 1 spot as the most streamed artist in South Africa thanks to local listeners.

Shekhinah and Nasty C in Rich Mnisi for MELENIAL.com | All Images by Kenny Jules Morifi-Winslow

There is definitely no debating the two young artist’s skill, diligence, creative ability and relevance if the streaming numbers released by Spotify South Africa are anything to go by.  Their every win – Shekhinah with 3 SA Music Awards for her Rose Gold album in 2018 and Nasty C with the release of Strings and Bling, a national mini-tour and huge collab with Major Lazer – is a testament to not only the power of young talent but how millennial creatives leverage digital technology like Spotify to showcase their creative capabilities to the world, build their brands and cement their place as leading artists amongst their peers.

Shekhinah in Rich Mnisi for MELENIAL.com | All Images by Kenny Jules Morif-Winslow

Releasing Rose Gold self-affirmed my love for music, how much I want this and that I have now earned the right to be called an artist. – Shekhinah

Since starting in the [music] industry on SA’s version of Idols in 2012, award-winning singer and songwriter Shekhinah has claimed her space by continuously exceeding the expectations of her fans and critics with her exquisite vocals. Having collaborated with industry heavyweights like Black Coffee and releasing a platinum debut album, Rose Gold, Shekhinah says she’s only getting started.  “The coolest thing I’ve learned is to stay in my lane. I try not to make any comparisons. Because you can’t follow someone else’s processes and methods, you have to work in a way that is best and meant for you. If I didn’t do that, I would have rushed into a lot of things and probably dropped my album as soon as Take it Back To The Beach came out. Releasing Rose Gold self-affirmed my love for music, how much I want this and that I have now earned the right to be called an artist,” she said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few years ago, I was watching these same artists I’ve worked with on TV thinking, ‘Oh damn, it must take a lot to work with those guys,’ and hoping someday I would get the opportunity to work with them and I did. – Nasty C

21-year-old Nasty C is no stranger to hard work, as his schedule keeps him busy and always working on making the next big move. “One of the biggest highlights of my career is getting a verse from T.I. and him reaching out to give a verse instead of the other way around. It’s been surreal to work with the likes of French MontanaBig Sean and many others. A few years ago, I was watching these same artists I’ve worked with on TV thinking, ‘Oh damn, it must take a lot to work with those guys,’ and hoping someday I would get the opportunity to work with them and I did. There are lots of sleepless nights, but it’s very rewarding and getting news like the Spotify announcement was cool and affirming,” said Nasty C.

Nasty C in Rich Mnisi (shirt) for MELENIAL.com | All Images by Kenny Jules Morifi-Winslow

 

The music industry is as cutthroat as any corporate dungeon and only the resilient, hungry, tenacious and hardworking get to live to tell the tale. Many of us have heard the horror stories of artists going broke, being screwed over by labels and contracts or even their own teams. It’s been incredible to witness the digitization of the music industry through platforms like Spotify which place the operational power with artists as much as the record label over an artist’s career. “I have been very lucky to own my own music and it’s very important to me as a musician because this is my career and benefits not only me but also my family and future. It’s understanding that you’re a business and you can’t have someone else own you,” said Shekhinah.

“Artists have a lack of education on the business and so did I. I’m currently in a phase where I’m trying to go over contracts I signed 4 years ago and correct those wrongs. So next time I sign, I have an upper hand always. Yes, there will be some people who come along the way that contribute to your vision but understand your power and rights. If you educate yourself you will be able to negotiate better and know your rights,” Shekhinah said reflecting on her journey in the industry.

“Don’t trust everybody, because you don’t know their ulterior motive and at some point, a team always has a fallout and that is when you see who and what is real. It’s important to keep your circle tight and be careful and know what’s real. I had a situation like that about 2 years ago where there was a bit of a fall out in my team but I’m glad it happened because I learned so much from that,” Nasty C added.

The sad truth and harsh reality still remain that not all artists will enjoy international, let alone major local success even with global platforms like Spotify there to help. Nasty C says it sometimes has nothing to do with the artists themselves and what they are doing but for some reason, their music does not resonate with the wider international audience. “It can be a lot of things like content and language they rap in and sort of only making music for “home” that doesn’t appeal to an international crowd. It’s definitely not that they’re doing something wrong but it’s tough with the international scene because it’s a different market and beast of its own. I’m grateful and lucky to be where I am but it takes time and lots of hard work,” said the Hell Naw rapper.

Shekhinah played devil’s advocate on the subject matter of local artists achieving international success. “Artists need to work harder and know that nothing is going to come easy and it takes time. Hard work really pays off. Stay focused, educate yourself and work hard. Everyone has their own timing and process, stay patient and work hard,” the songstress stressed.

Their obvious on-set chemistry, while we shoot for this profile piece, reveals visible respect for one another’s talent and relatability that can be chucked up to the fact that they’re a cut above the rest so early in their individual careers. Again, coming through quite strongly in their latest project together; a collaboration lead by Tellaman on the track Whipped, and the teamwork made the dream work.

Both Nasty C and Shekhinah have no plans of changing their tempo anytime soon. Excitingly, Nasty C wants fans to expect a lot more from him in 2019; from a tour later in the year, releasing a project with No I.D., releasing book and documentary projects respectively, and a campaign with Red Bull titled Lift As You Rise. Continuing to move to the beat of her own drum, Shekhinah plans to amaze her fans with her upcoming festival and tour in the latter part of 2019. “I want my fans to have a different experience of the music. I want to change the nature of how they experience and see us,” she concludes.

“Keep working hard, feed your purpose, invest in yourself and your craft and believe in yourself,” Nasty C said as parting words before he drops the call to make his rehearsal.

Production Credits 

Photography, Set Design & Creative Direction: Kenny Jules Morifi-Winslow

Production Coordination & Wardrobe: Simbongile Ndlangisa 

Interviewer: Nomvelo Chalumbira 

Make-up: Palesa Mkhwananzi Artistry and Neo Nontso 

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