What age did you start singing? My mum tells me I was always singing and making noises around the house ever since I was a toddler. I started singing properly at the age of 7 in a children’s choir. That was the first time I had any sort of training or vocal coaching and I loved every minute of it.
You sang with your uncles when you were younger, what’s it like coming from a musical family? It’s like being in a musical! That’s the best way of describing it… though without the dancing and dramatics. We would always visit my grandparents on a Sunday and I would grab the nearest guitar and ask one of my uncles to play a song that I knew, so I could sing along. They would record me singing Mariah Carey songs and pretend to interview me as if I was on the radio! It was great fun growing up around that kind of vibe.
You were featured on Rapper Stunner’s track Sele Mama, what was that like? It was such a great experience! Stunner is a big artist in my home country Zimbabwe, so it was an honour to be in the video. It also gave me a chance to meet some great artists and producers including Roby Gee, Jusa Dementor and Kazz, who I have worked with since.
Sele Mama has been on the Top 10 MTV Dancehall Charts how does that feel? Not everyone can say they featured in a music video that made MTV top 10 so it makes it that extra bit special. It’s a great feeling, and the guys worked really hard on the video so I’m happy that everyone’s efforts paid off.
Which music artists inspire you? Beyonce, Adele, Katy B, Miss Dynamite.
You have been called ‘Zimbabwes Urban Groove Queen’ – that’s quite a title did you expect to get such recognition? Not at all! I never expected to get such a title. I was so humbled; it’s great to get recognition. It makes all the effort and time I put into my music all worth-while.
You won the ZIMAA Female of the Year Award last year, at just 21-years-old how big a deal was that for you? I nearly cried! The only thing that stopped me was my mum being there – I didn’t want to embarrass her. That was a very big deal for me as the winner was chosen by the public. It’s nice to know that you have people behind you, supporting you every step of the way. It meant the world and makes me want to keep going and to become even better.
Do you listen to any UK artists and if so who? I follow a lot of UK artists, Adele, Emeli Sande, Wiley, Chipmunk, Wretch 32, Labrinth, Tinie Temper, Katy B, Ms Dynamite, Leona Lewis, Angel to name a few!
Do you have any artists that you would like to work with in the future? I have quite a few people I would love to work with but my top three are Wretch 32, Usher, Labrinth, Ms Dynamite, Bruno Mars…..now I know that’s more than three but it’s hard to pick just three! There’s so much talent out there.
What do you think about the UK music scene and how does it differ to Zimbabwe? I love the UK music scene. It’s very diverse, which makes it exciting. Recently there has been quite a bit of Afrobeat influence in UK music, which is nice to hear as it reminds me of my roots. The Zimbabwean music scene is similar in the sense that it is influenced by all types of genres from different parts of the world.
Apart from music what do you like doing? I love dancing. I used to dance back in the day so any chance I get to show off my moves I just go for it! I also love doing fundraising events for various charities in Africa. I have participated in fashion shows, and sung at charity concerts. I always like to lend a helping hand where I can.
If you weren’t a singer what would you like to be doing? I’ve always been a very hands on person and I picked up a few hairdressing skills from my aunties so probably hairdressing. I’m also a good listener and I like a bit of a gossip so maybe one of those people you go to when you need cheering up!
Your solo video Down Tonight, has a dancehall vibe, is that the kind of music you like listening to? I like all types of music, but on a night out all the dancehall songs will always get me up dancing!
What do you do to relax? I’m a bit of a workaholic so I hardly ever get time to relax, but a quick gym session is always a good way to relax.
What else can we expect from Shanky this year? I have got a lot planned for this year. You can expect more music videos, live shows all over the UK, and I’m also planning a tour in my home country Zimbabwe as we speak. And I will be dropping my début album later on this year so, watch this space!
Where did your name ‘Shanky’ come from? Shanky is a nickname I’ve had since I was young. It’s derived from my surname Shangazhike.
Your based in Surrey do you like being so close to London? I love it! London is where it’s all happening!
Zimbabwean fashion is very vibrant, what do you think about British fashion are you a fan? I love UK fashion -it has so much to offer. I actually studied at London College of Fashion for a few years and it was so refreshing to be around so many creative people. I got to go to London Fashion Week as well which was great! My favourite designer has always been Vivienne Westwood. However, I’m always looking out for new and up-and-coming designers as their creations are what I want to be wearing one day.
Follow Shanky on twitter @SHANKYMUSIC