Artist/Activist Shungudzo Announces Album I’m Not A Mother But I Have Children, Out June 18, 2021 | Shore Fire Media

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10 March, 2021Print

Artist/Activist Shungudzo Announces Album I’m Not A Mother But I Have Children, Out June 18, 2021

Artist/Activist Shungudzo Announces Album "I'm Not A Mother But I Have Children", Out June 18, 2021

Video For "There's Only So Much A Soul Can Take" Premieres On FLOOD

 

"Shungudzo’s music is resolute and catchy. Although seamless, to make funky pop songs that parse out emotional shrapnel lodged in our spirits is an immense skill. She continues to release singles that reflect the necessary and immediate descent we must practice against institutions and norms that dehumanize."FLOOD

 

Today, Zimbabwean-American artist/activist Shungudzo has announced the release of her debut album, I’m not a mother but I have children (Svikiro Records/Young Forever/BMG) out June 18, 2021. Pre-orders are available now. Written and produced primarily on her own, the 16-track (13 songs and 3 poems) album is a testimony to her life both growing up in Zimbabwe and now living in America, and her talent in making songs and poems that uplift, excavate and enlighten. The album is a proclamation, asking the listener to look inside themselves, embrace their good, analyze their intentions, and rethink life’s priorities.

Ahead of the release, Shungudzo releases the single and video for the vibrant and bold “There’s only so much a soul can take,” which has premiered today on FLOOD. The visual, directed by Michael Thomas, shifts between bright colors and VHS static, and uses physical slapstick, dancing in the rain, and a push-and-pull with a T.V. and cellphone as a metaphor for the damage outside abuse can inflict on our internal psyches. “The video represents how external stressors — including digital ones — impact our internal selves,” Shungudzo states. She adds, “It’s also a statement about the fact that all of us have breaking points, and that it’s okay to admit to being hurt by people, systems and things. After all, we can’t heal any wound that we deny having.”

Statements like this are ever present on I’m not a mother, but I have children. Throughout the album, which includes 13 songs and 3 poetic interludes, listeners find themselves on a journey of self-reflection and motivation to look both within and beyond themselves in order to make change in the world. This is evident on the first single “It’s a good day (to fight the system).” Released a week before election day 2020, the track not only became an anthem for voters, but a rallying call for people around the world to fight, daily and forever, against the systems that oppress them. Second single, “To be me,” presents a different subject with equal importance: the need — and right — to feel safe in one’s own body. With deep thought in every lyric, this is an album that proves timeless in a world that desires instant gratification. 

"I'm not a mother, but I have children is the musical and poetic story of my life and perspective as a woman of color in Zimbabwe and America. It’s also about the great responsibility I have always felt to make the world a better place. It journeys from a beautiful but difficult past all the way to my great optimism for the future,” says Shungudzo about her debut. “I often think about how who and where we come from affect our abilities to either become or overcome internal and external evils. How many cycles we need to break, internally and externally, in order to move forward.”

She continues, “Why do we hear so many songs about boyfriends and girlfriends and hookups gone wrong, when the most significant relationships we will ever have (and/or not have) are with our parents? Why do we hear so many songs about money and partying when so many people in this world aren’t granted basic human rights?”

Many of Shungudzo’s ideals stem from a childhood spent in Zimbabwe. She learned about striving to live in harmony with oneself, with each other, and with nature from her Zimbabwean family, many of whom were sustenance farmers. She also learned about inequity, inequality and racism, which she experienced in two forms as a mixed person — at school, she was bullied for being “white,” while in sports, she was beat up for being “Black.” After idealizing her move back to America, she was faced with a harsh realization. 

In an interview with The World, she states, "I thought that moving here, I would leave racism behind, but that exists here too — as do so many other forms of oppression." Fueled by this, she was led to a path of activism, which eventually led her to pouring that passion into music and poetry. 

In 2020, the world was shaken by a pandemic and then the racial injustice protests following the death of George Floyd. Around the same time, the Zimbabwean Lives Matter protests in Zimbabwe made international headlines. In this period, Shungudzo took pen to paper to create a project that would confront the topics that so many musicians ignore — the topics that she entered the music industry solely to discuss. 

In a singles-driven world, I’m not a mother, but I have children is an album to be refreshingly listened to from start to finish. There is a journey in each of the 16 tracks, 15 of which Shungudzo wrote all of the lyrics and melodies entirely on her own, and all of which she either produced and engineered alone or alongside friends. Many of Shungudzo’s collaborators on this album are fellow Zimbaweans. “It was important for me to use the privilege I have — to be able to make music on an international platform — to give back to others who don’t have that same privilege,” she says, “Which is why I hired so many Zimbabwean musicians to play on the album. The soul of their playing was the final step in making the album’s heart beat.”

When Shungudzo was five years old, she made a promise to herself to write a poem every day for the rest of her life. In addition to her own poetry and songwriting, Shungudzo has written for Little Mix, Chiiild, and Jessie Ware among others. She is also a talented dancer and gymnast, and was the first female artistic gymnast of color to compete on the Zimbabwean National Team. Before pursuing music full time, she ran a media company and attended Stanford University. She now lives in Los Angeles.

When Shungudzo was five years old, she made a promise to herself to write a poem every day for the rest of her life. In addition to her own poetry and songwriting, Shungudzo has written for Little Mix, Chiiild, and Jessie Ware among others. She is also a talented dancer and gymnast, and was the first female artistic gymnast of color to compete on the Zimbabwean National Team. Before pursuing music full time, she ran a journalism company and attended Stanford University. She now lives in Los Angeles.

“I believe that if we look within, and work together, we can build a better world, or at least lay the foundation for future generations to do so” she states. “That’s what, ‘I’m not a mother, but I have children’ means. It’s not about having children in a traditional sense, so much as it is about every step we take will paving the roads that future generations will walk — or better yet, run — on.”

 

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