ARTICLE BY: FEMI AJAYI AIYEOLA
INTERVIEW BY: BABATUNDE MAXIVIVE
Deborah Oluwa-seyi Joshua better known by the stage name “Seyi Shay” is a Nigerian based international recording artist and songwriter born and raised in London, UK to Nigerian parents. She began performing at the age of six. A former member of the prestigious London Community Gospel Choir (LCGC) headed by Basil Meade whose international tours saw her perform in different cities of the world at a tender age of 14.She is also a very talented songwriter who wrote and produced the single “You Will See” for Mel C of the Spice Girls which was included in her successful and critically acclaimed album, ‘Beautiful Intentions.” She also wrote a successful hit “White Lies” for the rapper Chipmumk that featured Coleena of Diddy’s Dirty Money, and was involved in the Konami Game soundtrack in which she wrote and produced three major songs for.While achieving these accomplishments, Seyi Shay’s light was too bright to stay in the background and she knew it was time to be the star so she got involved in a National music audition in the UK where she later emerged lead vocalist of the British Pop/RnB girl group, “From Above.” They were signed to Sony/Columbia Record company and Music World Entertainment owned by Matthew Knowles Beyoncé’s Knowles Father. From Above released their debut album online called “Breaking From Above” with moderate success and also had their own reality show on MTV with the same name which aired in over 166 countries worldwide. They famously opened for Beyoncé on her “I…AM” UK tour in 2009/10.After being in the group for a while, Seyi Shay decided to make a brave move and branch out as a solo artist, she began to work on her debut album in Nigeria. Having recorded a number of songs with the country’s top producers, she was now ready to release her solo singles in Africa and Worldwide.Her stage presence, energy and powerful vocal ability has made Seyi-Shay one of Africa’s most successful act to date. She has performed at the finest high profile events round Nigeria and Africa, she is often considered Nigeria’s best female performer with a good resume and back catalog to back her up, she has not only shared the stage with top Nigerian performers but has also supported the international superstars like Rick Ross and Chris Brown at their own concerts in Nigeria. Her most successful single is undoubtedly the infectious song, “Irawo” which was released in 2013 and still enjoys major play on the radio and TV music channels today, we also have her to thank for the masterpiece; ‘RaggaRagga’ and ‘Chairman’ featuring Kcee, the video for this hit premiered on the January 9, 2014 . She continued to see success with the follow up single called ‘Murda’ featuring Patoranking and Shaydee an absolute summer smash/anthem with a banging video released on the June 11, 2014. Seyi Shay who loves to collaborate with Nigeria’s finest stroke gold again with another smash single called ‘Crazy’ which featured the one and only, Wizkid. Seyi Shay’s Star Power has paved the way for many lucrative endorsement deals in Africa from companies such as Etisalat, Hollandia Yoghurt and Barardi Breeze all wanting her to represent their brands, her beauty has also graced the pages of many fashion magazines from Y! Africa Magazine, and Genevieve Magazine to BuyamMangazine and of cause Made Magazine. The sky truly is the limit for this outstanding entertainer and we can’t wait to see what she does next .
You’re a very good model, did you have any professional model training?I have never had any model training ooo. I do get asked a lot
What made you do the Pink Ball Campaign?I did the pink ball because I was very affected by breast cancer through my dear aunt Joke. I wanted to honour her life and be a part of something that would help spread the awareness of the disease.
You always empower women in your music and fashion, even with this Pink Ball Campaign. Would you consider yourself a feminist?I’m not a feminist but I’m happy to be seen as someone that empowers women through music and fashion and campaigns.
You have a very keen fashion sense, is your fashion sense more inspired by you or by your stylist?My fashion sense is mainly inspired by me and my moods.
Who are your favourite designers? My favourite designer is Chanel.
You’ve worked with a lot of artists in the last few years, which collaboration are you most proud of?I’m very proud of all of them. It’s been such an honour to work with them. I’ve recently been collaborating with Ghanaian and East African acts. The process of making my album is very exciting.
I’m not a feminist but I’m happy to be seen as some- one that empowers women through music and fashion and campaigns
One thing no one knows about you would be? my music.
How influential do you think music is in the lives and values of young people? Music often moulds the culture of the youth.
Music is a beautiful form of self-expression, where we have the opportunity to pour out our feelings, thoughts, and passions. But for millions of people music also serves as the soundtrack to their lives, and it shapes their world views. How do you balance self-expression and the responsibility you have as an influential?I just live or have lived what I preach.
You were formerly signed under Columbia records, why did you come back?I was signed as part of a girl band under the management of Mathew knowledge. The group disbanded and I chose to move back to my home Nigeria.
Are you glad you came back to Nigeria? Moving back to Nigeria was the best thing I could have done. There is more opportunity for people of my age group. I found more success out in Nigeria than I did in over 10 years of music abroad. However, my disciplines were cultivated abroad.
Have you had any embarrassing moment on stage?I’ve fallen on stage a few times. It’s just part of my work I guess.
Moving back to Nigeria was the best thing I could have done. There is more opportunity for people of my age group. I found more success out in Nigeria than I did in over 10 years of music abroad. However my disciplines were cultivated abroad
Do you ever have writer’s block?I always get writers block. Especially when I’m under pressure.
How do you overcome writers block?I overcome it by not thinking about it and relaxing or going on holiday.
Which do you prefer? Music or dance Music and dance go hand in hand but if I had to chose I would say music.
Are there times when you’re so tired and you don’t want to go for a photoshoot or for a studio session or whatever is on your schedule for the day?I often get tired from flying almost every day.. My manager Didi often has to plough me out of bed. Sometimes my body can not take the workload.
What keeps you going?What keeps me going is my hope in God, a healthy life style and the great people around me.
What’s next for Sheyishay?I’m set to release my sophomore album in the 3rd quarter of 2015 featuring local and international artistes and producers.
You’re a very passionate performer; do you prefer performing to being in the studio?I will always prefer performing especially with a live band to just singing in the studio.
What is your idea of a Made Man?My idea of a made man is someone with great success in his chosen career.