Living her life out loud and strong

ChianoSky’s flourishing career has shown her that the sky's the limit. (Supplied)

ChianoSky’s flourishing career has shown her that the sky's the limit. (Supplied)

ChianoSky is the quintessential pop star: bubbly, beautiful and loved by everyone who meets her. And she is a model with perfect, long red hair. 

The 19–year–old composer and performer is currently celebrating the success of her debut album Hungry, which received five nominations at this year's South African Music Awards (Samas). 

The album is a slick mix of jazz and pop, with a hint of cabaret. It features her sultry vocals and youthful sense of abandonment, although it's clear she gets her inspiration from the soul heavyweights Nina Simone, Etta James, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Adele and Amy Winehouse. 

The tracks Sick Sick, Walking Away and Home Sweet Home have received extensive airplay on local radio stations. 

This month, ChianoSky released the last single off the album, Live Out Loud.
She claims there will be no more singles released from her debut.

What's the story behind your name because many people don't believe that ChianoSky is your real name?
My mother had a friend called Luciano. She really liked the "Chiano" and added "Sky" to it because she thought it made a bold statement, that anything is possible–limitless. She is quite eccentric.

Have you always had an interest in music?
Yes, for as long as I can remember. My parents introduced me to a lot of classics when I was growing up.

How would you describe your music? You are called a pop star but your music has elements of other genres.
I would say my music is a jazzy electro–pop combination with some soul elements too. But wait and see what I do on the next album. 

You are also a model. How did you get into it?
I started modelling when I was 15 years old. It has been a fun, artistic experience for me and has definitely helped to build my confidence and work ethic in the [music] industry.

How has your life changed since people began to recognise you in public? Has it been easy to adjust?
It's been an interesting journey and obviously something to get used to. I feel like I have changed so naturally. This is the lifestyle I chose so I am trying to live it to the full with all its chaos.

You received five nominations at the Samas this year. What has that meant to you?
When I got nominated it really did mean a lot. It put me out there in a market that I don't think really knew my music. It also showed that I was a strong artist in this country.

What was it like performing on the stage as a new artist? You were part of a great collaboration on stage with DJ Zinhle.
It's scary getting up there for the first time. You have to sell yourself as an artist to an audience who doesn't know you yet. You have to work it. Performing on stage with another artist is always fun, you bounce off each other.

You were one of the supporting acts for Justin Bieber during his South African tour. What was that like? 
t was an amazing experience, the audience was so welcoming and responsive I thought it was my ?concert. 

What are some of your favourite hangout spots?
Liberation Cafe in Melville has a great jukebox and you can choose your own favourites. Beefcakes in Illovo is always a hit and Greenside has some great cocktails and ?company. 

What are some of your favourite TV shows?
I like the odd stuff–like Toddlers and Tiaras, the Crime & Investigation channel, Modern Family, Project Runway or any crazy reality show. 

Twitter: @ChianoSky 

Rhodé Marshall

Rhodé Marshall

Rhodé Marshall is the Mail & Guardian's arts, culture and entertainment content producer. She started as a radio reporter and producer in Cape Town, before jumping into online news. When there is chaos, she is the responsible, cool and calm one. With one hand glued to her phone and the other to a can of Coca-Cola, she is a pop culture junkie. And don't you dare write her name without the accent on the e, she will make sure that you know how to do it on every device. Visit her blog: Read more from Rhodé Marshall

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