Shannon Hope

Musician

What is the true measure of success? Is it accolades, fame and riches? Durban-based pianist and vocal artist Shannon Hope believes it is not.

This comes across most powerfully in the TEDx Cape Town talk she delivered in 2013, in which she speaks with rare honesty about the sacrifices in pursuing a career as a professional, self-managed and -promoted musician.

She has committed herself less to living a dream than to doing what she knows she is meant to do. “Music is who I am not what I do,” she says.

Classically-trained since the age of six, performing in various bands since 1997 and garnering tour experience locally and abroad, she then launched an independent solo career in 2009 and has released two solo albums and played at nearly every major festival around the country.

Her work ethic and steadfast pursuit of her own path won her a Standard Bank Ovation Award at the National Arts Festival in 2011 in recognition of artistic innovation, excellence, the exploration of new performance styles and the courage to open new conversations in the arts.

Hope has continued along this path, using her performances to connect with people in a meaningful way. She considers it her mission to empower people to pursue their dreams and realise that being true to themselves is more powerful than simply following the grain.

“Being a grown-up is hard enough with all the expectation we place on ourselves. You owe it to yourself to do something that makes you happy,” she says.

Hope is currently focusing on developing her motivational performance portfolio, cross-medium and cross-genre collaborations, and sourcing a team to work steadily on building a meaningful and sustainable career, with more albums and touring to come.

She will be releasing her next album later this year, continuing her hectic touring schedule – locally and abroad – and working steadily on building a meaningful and sustainable career. — Johann Barnard