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. 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. Elements were certified Platinum by RISA a year after its initial release and were nominated for Best R&B/Soul Album at the 26th South African Music Awards. Elaine was subsequently signed to Columbia Records in December 2020.
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. In 2014 she received a gold medal at the 8th World Choir Games in Riga, Latvia. While attending high school, Mukheli began writing her own music. She began studying law at the University of the Witwatersrand in approximately 2018 and stated in November 2019 that she was part of the university’s Golden Key Honour Society.
Elaine’s musical style regarding genre has been described as trap-soul (a blend of trap and soul music), alternative R&B, contemporary R&B, and neo-soul. She has cited R&B singers such as Lauryn Hill and Beyoncé as her biggest inspirations. Elaine’s musical style has been compared to that of Tsakani Mhinga and H.E.R., as well as Jhené Aiko and Summer Walker.