Columbia Records signs South African singer

MPHO RANTAO 

TWITTER erupted in joy as fans of Trap-soul and R&B music took to the app’s timeline to congratulate independent South African R&B singer Elaine, who was announced to have signed an international record deal. 

It was announced on Twitter that American record label Columbia Records had signed a distribution deal with the twenty-one year old, South African singer on the same day Elaine released a music video for her second single ‘Risky’. 

She joins the iconic label’s roster that also features Beyonce, John Legend, Adele, Céline Dion, Pharrell Williams, George Ezra & many others.

Columbia Records roster featuring Elaine. Picture: Twitter

The Pretoria native released her first EP ‘Elements’ last year in September to critical acclaim from her listeners, making it debut at #1 on iTunes Albums chart, and had her trending on Twitter and Apple Music for one week straight. 

Elaine also had three of her singles charting on Apple Music’s global R&B, South African and Worldwide (all genres) charts within the same month. 

Her debut project is a seven-track, trap-soul trip that deals with the themes of love, heartbreak and self-reflection.

After the release of her album, international music communities took notice, including the likes of American hip-hop producer Ebro Darden (who hosts Apple Music’s Beats 1 radio) and American music journalist Nadeska Alexis, who then hosted Elaine on the same radio in March earlier this year.  

She also received a co-sign from American hip-hop artist Joe Budden on his podcast, ‘The Joe Budden Show’.

The independent artist (real name Ndivhuwo Elaine Mukheli) ended 2019 being listed on Spotify and Apple Music’s ‘Top 10 Most Streamed’ lists for South Africa, which also included soul songstress Amanda Black, Amapiano queen Sha Sha, Shekhinah, Afrikaans artist Karen Zoid and gospel singer Lebo Sekgobela. 

Top 10 most-streamed female artists. Picture: Spotify

Top women streamed artists in South Africa. Picture: Apple Music

Elaine was nominated for Best R&B/Soul Album at the 26th South African Music Awards and still holds the title for Spotify’s most streamed female artist in South Africa.

In the beginning of August this year, she announced via Twitter that ‘Elements’ had gone platinum, which is a rare achievement for South African independent artists. 

In an interview earlier this year, Elaine told online publication, Okay Africa, “My EP, Elements, means so much to me”. 

She goes on to add that, “I gave it all my love and passion, and to receive it tenfold from those who love and appreciate me and my music, is the greatest gift I could ever ask for. I am grateful, humbled and excited for the future. Thank you to every shining star that has been streaming my project, and thank you Apple Music for your love and constant support!”