When we watch talent shows such as The X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent, and The Voice, it’s easy to assume we know a lot about the contestants based on their introductions. The little snippets we get into these individual’s lives are easily digestible, and we can quickly make an opinion of people; sometimes without even realising. However, we never know what hardships people may be facing, or are about to face.
Enter Shanaya L, a singer from the UK who wowed the X Factor judges in her audition with a cover of “Dance With My Father” by Luther VanDross. Shanaya would go further into the competition and continue to impress judges and public alike, while fighting her own personal battles. It’s clear to all that Shanaya’s parents mean the world to her, and you can listen to her blinding performance in tribute to them here:
When asked by Simon Cowell what winning The X Factor would mean to Shanaya, she simply replies with: “It means everything… it would give me confidence in myself and I can’t explain how much it would mean.” It’s clear from the outset that Shanaya is a true soul who wears her heart on her sleeve, but needs a boost of confidence in order to take her dream that little bit further.
And take her dream further, she did. After making Nicole Scherzinger emotional during her rendition of “Say Something” by A Great Big World, and ultimately leaving the competition shortly after, Shanaya pushed on and released her cover independently several days after. It received significant praise, and is a testament to her incredible attitude and determination. Listen to her beautiful cover in the video below:
Sadly, life has not been easy for Shanaya since her appearance on The X Factor. Despite persisting with her music and continuing to chase her dreams, she has been experiencing a variety of health issues in the last few years. According to an update she provided to her Instagram, she has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia – a long-condition that causes pain throughout the entire body.
“I’ve been really ill since August 2020, the reason why I haven’t posted in a while”, she posts. “I’ve been having all kinds of symptoms including the most excruciating pain (chronic pain) all over my body from head to toe”. As a result of this condition, and the chronic fatigue that comes with it, she has not been able to share any new singing videos with the world at this time. In light of her struggle, we simply wish that her situation improves for her own wellbeing first and foremost, and that she can return to singing someday.
We wish Shanaya the very best in her future endeavours, and hope that she remembers the success that she experienced in her time on The X Factor. Not only that, but successfully releasing a cover that many have dubbed to be arguably better than the original, it’s clear that this singer truly has a gift to share with the world. If you would like to see more from Shanaya Atkinson-Jones, you can subscribe to her Instagram.