Bukeka’s inspirational presence begins with the story of her name. Born as Gretchen Elizabeth at age six (6), she was immersed in the Civil Rights Movement with her parents. Inspired by this great movement of change she wanted a new name. She chose Bukeka meaning “adorned one” in the Xhosa language spoken in South Africa. With her parents’ blessing Gretchen Elizabeth entered first grade with the name she had chosen – Bukeka. Her mission is to use her voice to live a life of joy and well being and invite others to do the same.
Even as a young child, Bukeka knew what she wanted to do, and that is sing. Bukeka has been captivating the world with her inspirational music and powerful voice for years. Her lyrics convey powerful messages set to rhythms that move people to dance or simply contemplate life. With an incredible vocal range her songs express an array of emotions and audiences feel a greater sense of self love and worthiness. Bukeka is known for “giving it all she’s got.” Her remarkable ability to infuse story and music leaves individuals hanging onto her every word. Some of her musical performances include touring and recording with R&B and Gospel legend Oleta Adams and has opened for renowned cultural and entertainment icons Dr. Maya Angelou and Harry Belafonte.
In 2000 Bukeka released her first CD, Bukeka. The most popular track is called I’ll light a Candle in your name. Nearly 20 years later this track is the #1 requested song for Bukeka to perform. Rick Bacus co-writer of this song and all tracks on the self-entitled CD contains tracks that people have taken to add to wedding celebrations and bring peace for those in hospice care.
In 2010 Bukeka released her sophomore CD entitled Spirit Is Alive. Its popularity enabled Bukeka to tour the country and perform abroad, gaining new fans.
November 2011 was a pivotal year for Bukeka. She was asked to accompany “The Light Center”; a local not-for-profit, to Cape Town, South Africa. While there she gave several musical performances. She performed in the town of Gugulethu with the Gugulethu High School Choir and appeared on Bush Radio 89.5 FM with popular Cape Town radio personality Sive Msolo.
Upon her return to the United States, Bukeka made the decision to rebrand her musical style as a jazz singer to a neo-soul/R&B artist. The transition officially debuted in 2015 when Sillymoneyrecords produced her original song entitled Be Happy. The song was co-written by, Kansas City keyboardist, Angela Ward of the James Ward Band (JWB). It was co-produced by Alex Cordero who is a former music director for EnVogue. Later, in 2015, Sillymoneyrecords produced Bukeka’s first official music video to her first R&B single – Be Happy. The video was shot by film maker William Peck, and launched the brand transition from Bukeka to BukekaStyle. The video has received over 50,000 views.
By March 2016, Be Happy won the Akademia Music Award for Best Pop R&B Song. In September 2016 Bukeka collaborated with two other very talented producer/songwriters, Michael Hepburn, funk music pioneer with the group Pleasure (track “Counting the Days”), and Claudia Accerra, CEO of Acerra Music Productions (AMP). Acerra collaborated on the production with aforementioned Angela Ward.
Another 2016 significant step forward for the BukekaStyle brand was signing with TL Jones, Author/Songwriter and CEO of Guiding Starz LLC. Her company specializes in marketing, public relations and social media management in the entertainment industry. Bukeka and TL lyrically co-wrote two of the five songs on the 2017 released CD Just like the Phoenix EP. TL is the sole writer with producer, Atlantic Recording engineer Perris Odoms, to the first single released off the Just like the Phoenix EP, “NeoSoul”.
The BukekaStyle brand was officially launched with a concert event held at the Overland Park Ballroom and Social club
The recording project for the EP “Just like the Phoenix” was completed at Westend Recording Studio located in Kansas City, Kansas.
Just like the Phoenix EP officially released.
Second official music video is in production to the song Neo Soul, written by TL Jones.
Pending release of “The One” Lyrics by Blakemore/TL Jones and music produced by ChuccNu and Sirr Blakemore.
The goal is to launch FAVUnite LLC, currently in a re-design phase. FAVUnite LLC is a new social media concept in development that connects fans and artist.
Pending release of the documentary short film and music video to song “Just like the Phoenix”.
BLAST FROM THE PAST!
The best place to start is by giving an overview of who I am, what I represent, and what I believe. Although this video was done a great while ago, the content still rings true in my life.
Yes, at one point I did a reality show. I do it all!