Vocalist and composer Somi is among six new recipients of the Doris Duke Artist Award.
Established in 2012, the Doris Duke Artist Award is the largest prize in the U.S. dedicated exclusively to supporting individual performing artists.
“As a proud daughter of immigrants, I have never fit neatly into a ‘here’ or ‘there’ — nor has my music,” Somi said in a statement. “Receiving this award is affirmation that this journey has not been in vain. Knowing that it was determined by a panel of my peers is especially meaningful — I feel seen, understood, supported, and so very grateful. This award will allow me to pursue or formalize more of my artistic projects on the African continent in spaces where the local cultural economy doesn’t always have the resources in place to support them.”
The award follows a landmark year for Somi. In March of 2022, she released her album Zenzile: The Reimagination of Miriam Makeba, a celebration of the late civil rights activist and South African vocalist. In the spring, she starred in the Off-Broadway production of Dreaming Zenzile at New York Theatre Workshop, an original musical written by Somi. In November, Somi made her debut performance at Carnegie Hall.