Meet Shewit, a talented female vocalist, performer and rapper who writes her own music. She’s been performing since she was 7 and has no plans to slow down. Read on to find out more about Shewit and read about her most memorable performance which featured performing in Grease and a wardrobe malfunction…
Name: Shewit Belay
Performance type: Vocal soloist/rapper
Performance name: Shewit Belay
Why did you start performing?
I started performing around the age of 7. My earliest memory is singing at a school talent show – this was, unknowingly, the first of many performances. If you ask my parents, they’ll tell you that I started performing at the age of 2 when I used to dance (who knows how well) to old Bollywood films!
What do you love most about performing?
The feeling of invincibility when you’re on stage. I feel that I have quite a deep connection to my music and being able to experience that on my own or with others (particularly with other collaborators or with an audience) is an incredibly special, affirming and creatively stimulating experience. The process that’s involved in writing music is also something that I treasure. Sometimes I feel like my lyrics are going nowhere but after sticking at it for a little while, one liners can just come out of thin air and sum up exactly what I’m trying to say. They are the moments that fuel my pursuit and love of performing.
What is your most memorable time in front of an audience and why?
My most memorable time in front of an audience would probably be in at my high school’s production of Grease in which I played Rizzo. Before going on stage for the song ‘Beauty School Dropout’, the elastic of my skirt broke. I had no time to get another skirt so I had to go on stage with my hands pinned to my sides to stop my skirt from falling down. Our dance in that scene had a lot of arm movements so I’m sure I would’ve looked pretty peculiar! This experience, among many other stage mishaps, taught me to make do and keep calm in unexpected situations – particularly on stage. It was a bit scary at the time but I laugh when I look back in hindsight.
What are some of your other hobbies apart from performing?
I love cooking (though I’m not very good at it), writing music & poetry, listening to music, blogging, reading, drinking tea and going for long, aimless walks through the city. I also enjoy binge watching African-American TV shows like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air with Will Smith and Girlfriends with Tracee Ellis Ross. I’m a huge fan of theatre too so I love going to see musicals and plays when I can.
How would your friends or family describe you in a few words?
That’s a hard one. Probably musical, ambitious, studious and very non-spontaneous. I’m a bit of a planner so I’m sure adjectives like control-freak (despite my vehement denies) would make it in there too!
If you have a favourite idol you look up to or saying please share it with us
My idol would probably be my mum. She’s a very strong woman and is a big part of why I’m where I am today both in a physical and intellectual sense.
I also love the saying: ‘Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land amongst the stars.’ It’s a bit corny but I think there’s a lot of truth to it. Unsurprisingly, my mum was the first person to show me that quote.
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