By Lucía Camblor, photos by He Zhang
Shoko wears a short and tight, shiny green dress with sequins. Her hair is covered with a scarf, and her big brown eyes stare sharply at the audience. The melody starts playing, and Shoko’s thought-provoking outfit moves to the rhythm. Her powerful voice fills the Radar hall.
Shoko’s real name is Nicoline Shokofeh Tamjidi. She was born and raised in Denmark, but she also has Persian roots as her parents are from Iran. This mixture of cultures influences her style. “I am trying to take the best of both worlds”, says a smiley and spontaneous Shoko. “From the Western culture I am taking that it is allowed to be sexy, to show that you have got curves… but I am also taking the modest way of doing it from the Persian culture”, she adds.
The artist is now 24 and has a degree in nursing and she works at Bispebjerg Hospital. However, simultaneously, since she was 19, she started pursuing a career in what has been her passion since she was a little girl. “I would watch Bootylicious on MTV”, recalls Shoko, and narrates how she told her mother she wanted to be a pop star. Beyoncé is the artist she wants to follow. “Aspirations are good to have, and you have to put a high standard”, states Shoko.
How does she combine these two intense jobs? With persistence. Shoko works different shifts; day, evening, and nights – and on weekends only every third one. Also, she has two guaranteed days off from work during a week. The rest of the time she is fully dedicated to her artistic career.
When she was back in high school, a few of her colleagues used to bully her on Facebook. “At that time I made some cover videos on YouTube, they are taken down now, but they were making fun of them”, Shoko evokes. “I started crying”, she continues, and she describes how her mother comforted her. “Honey, they are just jealous of your talent. You should keep going, and don’t mind what they are saying”. For her, that moment made the difference. This experience only made her stronger.
She tells of how she had felt vulnerable because of her origins. “A woman doesn’t do certain things. But why not? Why can’t we be equal? Just because I am female am I not allowed to wear provocative clothes, swing my hair and feel my femininity?”. Her single, Forever, seeks to connect with her audience. “I know from myself how music can heal your wounds. If it is just a cliché pop song or another more deep and sincere song it doesn’t matter just as long as you can relate to it”, she says. Asked for her dream she answers, “My dream is to inspire other people. I am a nurse, I like to help people”.
Shoko’s performance was one of many events in SPOT festival that finished this Sunday 13th of May.