Elaine (singer)

Ndivhuwo Elaine Mukheli (born 2 April 1999), known mononymously as Elaine, is a South African R&B singer and songwriter from Pretoria. While studying law at the University of the Witwatersrand, she self-released her debut EP Elements in September 2019.[5] The EP reached No. 1 on both the national iTunes and Apple Music album charts, making her the first independent female artist to do so.[6][7] Elements was certified Platinum by RISA a year after its initial release and was nominated for Best R&B/Soul Album at the 26th South African Music Awards. Elaine was subsequently signed to Columbia Records.

Birth nameNdivhuwo Elaine Mukheli[1][2]
Born (1999-04-02) April 2, 1999 (age 21)[3][4]
Pretoria, South Africa[4]
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Years active2019–present

Early lifeEdit

1999–2018: early yearsEdit

I remember the owner of the pre-school came to me and gave me a solo – this solo was ‘Silent Night’ and girl, that’s when my career took off. This was my time to shine, and I think from the moment I sang that solo, I knew that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

—Elaine on her childhood introduction to singing[8]

Ndivhuwo Elaine Mukheli was born in Pretoria on 2 April 1999. She started singing at age six and participated in the school choir and various talent competitions while growing up.[8] In 2014 she received a gold medal at the 8th World Choir Games in Riga, Latvia.[9][10] While attending high school, Mukheli began writing her own music.[11] She began studying law at University of the Witwatersrand in approximately 2018,[5] and stated in November 2019 that she was part of the university's Golden Key Honour Society.[11]


2019–present: ElementsEdit

Elaine uploaded her debut single, "Slip Away" onto SoundCloud in February 2019, before officially self-releasing it in April 2019. Her follow-up single, "I Just Wanna Know" was released in August 2019. Elaine was the first South African artist to be part of Spotify's Radar artist program.[12][13] She released her debut EP, Elements, on 29 September 2019.[14] The 7-track EP was produced by Clxrity alongside Elizee from South African hip-hop duo Elizee and Malachi and was described by OkayAfrica as "a mellow blend of trap-soul and R&B with incisive explorations of adolescent love."[15] The EP was successful on streaming charts, helping Elaine clock one million accumulative streams within two weeks of its initial release.[16] She was deemed as Apple Music's New Artist Spotlight after Elements reached No. 1 on the album chart in South Africa.[17] At one point in February 2020, all seven songs from Elements simultaneously placed in the top 10 of the national Apple Music R&B/Soul songs chart.[18] The EP, spawned the single "You're The One", which also topped both iTunes and Apple Music single charts.[19] The single earned Elaine both her radio debut and first number one on the Metro FM Top 40,[20] as well as several weeks atop both the 947 Top 40,[7] and KFM Top 40.[21] Her debut music video for "You're The One" was released in early April 2020 and gained approximately 100 thousand views within 24 hours of its initial release.[22][23] As of late April 2020, Elaine continues to "dominate" South African music charts.[24] Elements was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry of South Africa in August 2020.[25][26][27] The EP was also nominated for Best R&B/Soul Album at the 26th South African Music Awards.[28] Elaine was signed to Columbia Records in August 2020.[29][30][31]


Elaine's musical style regarding genre has been described as trap-soul (a blend of trap and soul music),[5][8][15] alternative R&B,[32][24] contemporary R&B,[32][5] and neo-soul.[24] She has cited R&B singers such as Lauryn Hill and Beyoncé as her biggest inspirations.[33] Elaine's musical style has been compared to that of Tsakani Mhinga and H.E.R.,[34] as well as Jhené Aiko and Summer Walker.[35]


Extended playsEdit

Title Details Certifications


Title Year Album
"Slip Away" 2019 Non-album single
"I Just Wanna Know" Elements
"Risky" 2020

Awards and nominationsEdit

Award Year Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Category Result Ref.
South African Music Awards 2020 Elements R&B/Soul Album of the Year Nominated [28]


  1. ^ "Membership List - Capasso" (Type "Ndivhuwo Elaine Mukheli" into Composers search tab.). Composers, Authors and Publishers Association. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  2. ^ "Elements / Elaine - Credits on Tidal". Tidal. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  3. ^ Elaine [@elaineofficial_] (2 April 2020). "Thank you for all the birthday wishes. You're all loved and appreciated" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  4. ^ a b Labase, Sisonke (13 March 2020). "5 facts about R&B sensation Elaine". W24. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d Hlalethwa, Zaza (22 November 2019). "Elaine is in her element". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  6. ^ Nxumalo, Lee (8 April 2020). "Elaine is South Africa's new R&B It Girl". Red Bull. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  7. ^ a b Mbhele, Zweli (8 May 2020). ""Every moment we have is a big moment. I'm grateful for their support." - Elaine". 947. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  8. ^ a b c Kabwe, Suwi (7 January 2020). "Exclusive: R&B Sensation Elaine Delves Deep Into Her Musical Journey". Between 10and5. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  9. ^ Ntsinde, Mandisa (15 January 2020). "5 Things You May Not Know About Soulstress, Elaine". Zkhiphani. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  10. ^ "Apple Music's New Artist Spotlight, Elaine". Le'Afrinique. 4 November 2019. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  11. ^ a b Mathebula, Kwanele (22 November 2019). "5 minutes with singer Elaine". Bona Magazine. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  12. ^ Eggertsen, Chris (9 March 2020). "Spotify Launches Global Emerging Artist Program RADAR With Alaina Castillo in the U.S". Billboard. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  13. ^ Shumba, Ano (13 March 2020). "Spotify launches programme for emerging artists". Music In Africa. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  14. ^ "Elaine Delievers Pure RnB & Soul On New 'Elements' Project [Listen]". Hype. 30 September 2019. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  15. ^ a b Kaunda, Mayuyuka (13 December 2019). "South African Women Dropped the Best Debuts of 2019". OkayAfrica. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  16. ^ Kumona, Molife (11 March 2020). "5 Reasons we are obsessed with Elaine". GQ. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  17. ^ "RnB sensation Elaine takes on charts and Apple Music's New Artist Spotlight". City Buzz. 18 December 2019. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  18. ^ "South Africa Apple Music Top 100 R&B/Soul Songs: Week 8". top-charts.com. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  19. ^ "You're the One by Elaine - Chart Performance". Top-Charts.com. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  20. ^ Manjo, Theo (2 May 2020). "Elaine Goes On Beats Radio 1 With Nadeska". Slikour On Life. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  21. ^ "KFM Top40SA: 23 May 2020". Top40SA.co.za. Archived from the original on 29 May 2020. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  22. ^ Sekhu, Michael (6 April 2020). "Elaine Drops Video for – You're The One". People. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  23. ^ Mhkabela, Sabelo (6 April 2020). "Elaine Finally Releases a Music Video for her Hit 'You're the One'". OkayAfrica. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  24. ^ a b c Makhubo, Sabelo (28 April 2020). "Elaine's Debut EP, Elements Continues Its Dominance Of The Music Charts". JustNje. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  25. ^ a b M., Thabo (6 August 2020). "Elaine's debut 'Elements' certified Platinum". Yo Mzansi. Retrieved 6 August 2020.
  26. ^ a b Jabulani, John (6 August 2020). "Elaine's debut EP "Elements" goes platinum". UbeToo. Retrieved 6 August 2020.
  27. ^ a b Manjo, Theo (6 August 2020). "The #ShiningStar @elaineofficial_ Goes Platinum With Her Debut EP #Elements". Silk Our on Life. Retrieved 6 August 2020.
  28. ^ a b Ciolfi, Tecla (16 July 2020). "Here's your first look at The SAMAs full list of nominees for this year's SAMA26 #ForThaKultcha". Texx and the City. Retrieved 6 August 2020.
  29. ^ Kekana, Chrizelda (20 August 2020). "SA singer Elaine joins the same label as Beyoncé and Adele". The Times. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  30. ^ "South Africans celebrate as singer Elaine goes global with Columbia Records". Eyewitness News. 20 August 2020. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  31. ^ "Artists - Columbia Records". Columbia Records. Archived from the original on 19 August 2020. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  32. ^ a b Donelson, Marcy. "Elaine - Biography by Marcy Donelson". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  33. ^ "HYPE Magazine Interviews Elaine". Hype. 2 October 2019. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  34. ^ Mkhabela, Gugulethu (13 March 2020). "Elaine Mukheli, one SA talent you need to hear right now". Glamour. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  35. ^ Makinde, Tami (10 March 2020). "For the Girls: Elaine is the South African singer you want to get familiar with". The Native. Retrieved 29 May 2020.