Daily News Interview

hot off the press

Written by Latoya Newman

DURBAN pianist and vocalist Shannon Hope returns to local stages this weekend after great mid-year success at the National Arts Festival and subsequent touring.

Hope, with her intimate lyrics and powerful, passionate delivery, blew audiences away at the National Arts Festival, walking off with a coveted Ovation Award. She also impressed in collaboration with Machitún – an Argentinian spiritual movement and musical acrobatic fusion extravaganza.

“Receiving an Ovation Award for my show at the (festival) was a huge honour for me, especially alongside some of my personal heroes, and being recognised at that level has been a great encouragement, artistically and professionally, in reaffirming that I’m on the right track,” she said.

“Machitún was a mind-blowing and life-changing experience. Having the chance to collaborate and rework some of my own material into a production of that epic scale was absolutely incredible, and we’ve been talking quite extensively about the potential for future collaborations, in South Africa and abroad, which is very exciting,” said Hope, explaining what has happened since the festival.

Hope, who grew up and lives in Umhlanga Rocks, says music is an integral part of who she is.

“I started playing the piano when I was six years old and was apparently singing before I could talk, so I think music has always been who I am, and was always going to be what I chose as a career.”

Hope describes her sound as being “lyrically focused and piano-based”, within her genres, with some elements of pop and rock.

“But I’d prefer audiences to make up their own minds. My main focus since releasing my first album in 2009 was to be as honest in my lyrics as I could be, because that is the kind of music that most speaks to me. Baring one’s soul is not always easy, but the response I’ve had from people who connect with the music on such a personal level makes it entirely worthwhile. I know how powerful that shared connection can be, which is why I write the kind of music I do, and why I risk that kind of vulnerability,” she said.

Hope’s new album, Fight A New Day, releases next month.

“I’m very proud of this record and everything it says about where I am, where I’ve come from, what I believe in and what I’ve achieved during the course of the past two and a half years since going full-time.

“It’s about being brave enough to believe in yourself and your truth, and being brave enough to wake up to fight a new day despite what that day might hold.

“It’s in keeping with the first record in terms of the level of honesty and the style of my writing, but has a slightly bigger, more driving and positive sound, with one or two cheeky, fun tracks to mix it up a bit.

“There is a sample of one of the tracks, Believe, on my website (www.shannonhope.co.za), and there will be more previews coming soon.”


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© Shannon Hope 2017