At 23, the young Zimbabwean born and bred songwriter, performer and singer who goes by the stage name Shanky, is already making waves on radio, with her catchy urban grooves music being played on online radio stations all over the UK where she is based as well as Africa.
Shanky managed to scoop an award for Female Artist of the Year at ZIMA Awards, an award which was chosen by the public – after only having been on the urban grooves scene for less than a year.
Having started singing at the tender age of 5 in a choir at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Harare, Shanky, real name Theresa Shangazhike, professes that she only joined because her sister was in the choir too – however that was to kickstart her love for music and after an audition with the vocal coach she developed her talent and her passion only grew.
She found herself singing all the time, especially with her very musical uncles. Gradually as she grew older, the vivacious young lady began to get requests to sing at functions such as weddings, funerals and charity events, which led to one of her family friends suggesting that she take up songwriting.
“Although I moved to the UK when I was 13, I love all things Zimbabwean, the music the food, the culture. I speak Shona, cook sadza, and try to represent my country where ever I go to perform.”
Her music, which cuts across RnB and dancehall is vibrant and fresh, offering the young audiences a refreshing breeze in the form of easy flowing vocals and rhythm.
“My passion is music, I love song writing and getting to perform my songs to the public. It’s so rewarding as a song writer to see people dancing and singing to your songs. It’s something I’ve had a passion for since I was little, and it runs in my family. My older sister is also a musician and sings in a band, my uncles also used to sing and play instruments so I guess it kind of rubbed off on me.”
What she enjoys the most about her budding career is live performances as she says it gives her a chance to interact with fans and to connect with them as opposed to recording in the studio.
However, her baby steps into the musical field were not all rosy as she faced a couple of challenges. “I would say my biggest challenge at first was getting my music heard, I think that’s the biggest challenge any artist faces when they first step onto the scene. I had no help from any record label or a manager so I was pretty much learning as I went along, and was managing myself. But I loved every minute of it, I learnt a lot and it helped me grow as an artist and I learnt a few tricks of the trade.”
Shanky, who believes God is the most important thing in her life, also values her family whom she says are her rock and support system. A risk taker at heart who is used to doing things that are out of her comfort zone, she believes in being independent and working hard to achieve one’s goals as “Nothing is impossible if you put your heart and soul into it.” Her kind and selfless heart is evident as she believes that helping people is important and will result in God blessing her in her time of need.
Asked if she had a family, yet, Shanky, who says she would have been a music teacher had she not been a musician herself, replied simply, “I don’t have my own family just yet but I am looking forward to the day when I can start my own little family!”
On how she juggles her busy schedules, performances, tours, and family, Shanky acknowledged that although it is challenging at times, her passion and love for her career makes it easy for her as everything just falls into place, adding that she takes time off to pamper herself and take a break just to make sure she is always at her best physically and mentally.
“My biggest life achievement would be to win a Grammy award. I think that would also make me the first Zimbabwean artist to do so, which would be a big achievement. My musical inspiration is Oliver Mtukudzi. I grew up on his music and I love how anyone even English people here in the UK can also listen to his music and enjoy it. He is such a legend, and I hope I too can stay in the industry for as long as he has done. He is a national treasure!”
Shanky is also quite involved in community based projects such as concerts to help fundraise for charities such as the Faith in Action Charity in Africa, mainly Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The amazing young talent has done her own rendition of the Zimbabwean National anthem to celebrate the country’s Independence day and it was broadcast on a UK TV Channel and on Youtube, although it was not aired locally.
On advice for young people like her, Shanky had this to say, “Aim high, work hard. If you can dream it, you can achieve it. Never give up on your passion, but don’t expect anyone to make your dreams come true for you. You are in charge of your own destiny. The sky is the limit.”