Shiv: “I’m not as Zimbabwean as I used to be. I’ve adopted Irish culture, and the chasm between them is huge”

DUBLIN – Irish singer-songwriter Siobhan McClean, better known as Shiv, released her new single ‘Heavy Water’ last month, accompanied by a stunning music visualiser.

The new single is a soulful and melodic song with emotionally charged lyrics. According to Shiv, the song “describes the disconnect I have from my Zimbabwean heritage. It’s a part of myself that on a surface level, I express pride for, but on a deeper level I don’t feel able to be fully part of.”

The music visualiser, filmed entirely by Shiv herself, was an “accidentally on purpose” video, filmed in Malawi last month.

“My parents live in Malawi, so I went over to visit them last month with my sister and her kid. I was just filming sort of nice moments, and when I got home, I looked back and thought, ‘Wow, these are actually really cool’, so we made the ‘accidentally on purpose’ music video using that footage.”

The video captures beautiful family moments between the 27-year-old Irish singer-songwriter and her family. The music visualiser is bright and upbeat, accompanied by lyrics overflowing with emotion.

The song explores Shiv’s own internal struggle about living in Ireland and her disconnect with Zimbabwe and its rich history and culture.

Shiv moved with her family to Ireland from Zimbabwe when she was just five years old. This meant adopting an entirely new culture and perspective, leaving her feeling like she had left part of herself behind.

“I’m scattered halfway between two countries, between Ireland and Zimbabwe,” said Shiv. The line perfectly summates the disconnect that she feels form Zimbabwe. To the listener, it also shares a lost sense of identity, a feeling that you’re never quite at home in one place, always feeling a pull from somewhere else in the world.

Describing those lyrics, Shiv said: “In that line, I’m surrendering to the situation, to the reality that I’m not as Zimbabwean as I used to be. I’ve adopted Irish culture, but I’ve gotten further and further from my ‘Zimbabweanness’. As I get older, it’s gotten more pronounced; The cultural chasm is huge, I can’t even speak the language as well as I could.”

Shiv speaks about her music with a depth and an understanding unlike most other artists, an attribute she credits to her degree in psychology from UCD. “I really enjoyed [studying psychology]. It informs how I view the world. It’s also helped a lot to manage stress and anxiety and those sorts of things. Music can be taxing and so stressful.”

Shiv was set to do a masters in educational psychology before tumbling into the music industry in 2019, and quickly becoming one of Ireland’s brightest new talents, signing with Warner Music Ireland earlier this year.

When asked about musical inspirations, Shiv was almost overwhelmed trying to cite as many brilliant names as she could spit out.

“I feel inspired by a lot of Irish talent right now,” said Shiv. “It feels like there’s a musical revolution going on right now, and it’s amazing to be a part of it.”

“I love what the [Chamomile records] guys are doing: Aby [Coulibaly], Monjola.”

“Bricknasty, too, I went to one of their gigs last month, and it was one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen.”

Shiv mentioned Dundalk duo Negro Impacto, as well as the likes of Erykah Badu, Frank Ocean and Kendrick Lamar as inspirations to her, and as the incredibly high standard setters in the music industry.

She celebrated the release of ‘Heavy Water’ at the popular story-telling night, Seanchoiche at Fumbally Café. She also recently played Trinity Ball, and played at Electric Picnic last year.

Shiv is also set to appear alongside Chasing Abbey at Hot Press’ Summer Party. Supported by Smooch Ice Cream, the event is set to take place on June 8th at the Chocolate factory in Dublin.

Looking to the future, having spent the last few months and years between Paris, London and Ireland, Shiv was looking forward to a summer at home. “I was so busy last year with everything. I loved that, but I just want to enjoy a summer here.”

Shiv alluded to the increased workload brought on in the new social media era. “[Social media] has pro’s and con’s. We have more power as artists, but also a huge amount of responsibility.”

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