Claude looked at me and said: ‘I wrote that song.’ I couldn’t exactly backtrack. I had been in the business for 14 years, I’d been nominated four times before and never won. I worked for one day in a Travelodge as a housekeeper. They complained about the direction I’d folded the corners of the sheets. I became completely delusional and I genuinely thought at one point I wasn’t going to survive. When she got breast cancer, I thought she was going to die.I just said: ‘Sorry.’Winning the Brit Award in 2015. She had to have a mastectomy but in her ward all she cared about was everyone else.
You had to go fabric hunting and then someone in your family would attempt to make it for you. Either spot on or, “Mum, please don’t send me to school in this.”’Shingai was born in 1980 in Brockley, Southeast London, ‘deep in Del Boy country’.
Her parents had both emigrated from Zimbabwe a few years previously; her father an academic and her mother from a family steeped in music. My mum used to put on concerts at a club called the Africa Centre in the 1990s.
What makes you succeed in life is not talent or potential, it’s resilience. I remember working with a songwriter called Claude Kelly. A female drummer came in and in this industry we are always told that female drummers aren’t very good. I have a female bass player in the band, and I could see they were communicating through the music.
Bruno Mars had released a song called Grenade and I started going on about how awful the lyrics were, how fake it was. It was so completely moving I started crying and then had to tell them why. I thought I was going to die during childbirth [last December]. Ever since I was born, she’s had a brain tumour but we’ve lived with that.
I do not intrude while three musical greats, and one extremely promising newcomer, talk shop. Whether or not this is the start of an epoch-making collaboration (and if it is, you heard it here first), it shows you that two albums in, with a third about to be released, Shingai Shoniwa and Noisettes have already made it to the status of extremely significant somebodies in the modern music scene.