Shonka Dukureh Biography
Shonka Dukureh is a vocal powerhouse! She is an Actress! She is an Author and she is a Playwright. Hailing from Nashville, Tennessee by way of Charlotte, North Carolina this quadruple threat holds a Bachelors degree in Theatre from Fisk University and a Masters degree in Education from Trevecca Nazarene University credentialing her as a “Highly Qualified” K-6 teacher. Shonka’s initial career aspiration was to become a teacher, however, she would soon learn that her vocal talents, coupled with an innate sense for the dramatic were most suited for a career as a performing artist.
photo by EMEXFOCUS
Shonka has wielded her singing and acting skillfully and always managed to “stop the show”, even in the most inconsequential roles. This is the gift of her talent. Over the years, she has successfully starred in many touring musicals and plays around the country. She garnered critical acclaim for her role in American Duet, by Marcus Hummon and was nominated and won the 2003 Tennessean Theatre Award for Best Musical Direction or Performance as a Vocalist. Additionally, she spent over ten years touring across the country to college campuses and conferences performing with the First Amendment Center’s Freedom Sings, a multi-media musical production. On June 24th, 2022, Shonka Dukureh will make her big screen debut starring in a featured role as Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton in the new ELVIS movie musical starring actors Austin Butler as Elvis Presley and Tom Hanks as “Colonel” Tom Parker.
Ms. Dukureh has also toured internationally with recording artist Jamie Liddell and The Royal Pharohs. “She definitely has the ability to tell any song’s story with passion, taking her listeners on an emotional journey as she pours her heart and soul into each and every note and nuance”, explains her Manager Tracy Matthews. Her musicality and character development are impeccable. When it comes to her singing, the emotion she enlists in her live performances have been compared by luminaries in the entertainment industry to the greats of the past. As an Actress, her ability to transform into characters so convincingly taking on the emotional baggage required to make them believable catapults her to elite status. She can hold her own with the greatest of well-known “Character” Actors.
Some of her other lauded performances include, but are not limited to the following: Featured Soloist for Emmy Nominated Nick Cave: Featuring Nashville Symphony at the Schermerhorn Center; Background Vocals for Grammy Award Winner Mike Farris on his 2018 Album Silver and Stone; Background Vocals for legendary music producer Pete Rock and Smoke Dza’s 2016 album Don't Smoke Rocks; Featured Lead Vocalist 2016 Album Nate Bean and 4Given Hymns and Devotionals Unplugged; Featured Lead Vocalist for Bahamas recording artist Christopher Roberts and Friends The Choir Project; Background Vocals for Multiple Grammy Award Winner Ashley Cleveland’s 2009 Album God Don't Never Change; Detroit’s Gem Theatre's 2006 Production of Respect: The Musical Journey of Women directed and choreographed by three- time Tony Award Winner Hinton Battle.
Inspired by the role she played in the forthcoming Elvis movie, Shonka Dukureh will be releasing her first studio album aptly titled, “The Lady Sings the Blues” in June of 2022. “The project is a tribute to the blues music genre in celebration of those fierce unsung pioneering artists and musicians who paved the way for the rock’n roll music revolution”, says Shonka.
Shonka Dukureh has had a well rounded and grounded journey as a performing artist. Her ability to make you “feel” in a manner that is emotionally transformative is the core of the beauty and unique essence of her creative gifts. Shonka Dukureh’s talent is simply undeniable and she is just getting started!