Beautiful music star, Seyi Shay, has been blessed in recent times. The singer, who relocated from the United Kingdom said she wanted to reunite with her roots. Her song, Irawo has been on the lips of the young and old.
In this exclusive interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly, she talked about her life, career and everything you need to know about her person.
How has life been with you?
Very blessed. God has been so good to me. I signed with new managers, I have some great new music, got my own place and I also visited South Africa and performed on the BBA stage.
What have you been up to lately?
I’ve been re-branding. New hair, new music, new team and new videos. I recently performed on stage for almost an hour at the Etisalat Cloud9 Show with a live band. Sir Shina Peters and I did a nice collabo on stage.
It has always been a passion of mine and several people in my family were into music. I started singing properly in the UK in my high school’s gospel choir. My choir director saw something in me and he decided to focus his efforts on bringing out my vocals. I started to lead the choir at events and shows. The choir went to Japan on a Christmas tour, the stages were grand! I got back to London knowing I wanted to perform for the rest of my life.
How would you describe your music?
It’s a blend of afro pop, soul, RnB and reggae.
What makes your music unique?
The fact that I’m a woman that combines afro-pop, reggae soul and RnB but the way I come about writing or recording it is by freestyle in the booth and most times, we just keep that first take. It keeps the rawness and reality of the song alive.
Has there been one particular moment in your career that you are most proud of?
There are too many to mention but the one particular moment I am very proud of was my time with my former girl band, From Above and the tour we did supporting Beyonce in 2009/10. Wherever I mention that, people say “Wow what an achievement”.
What are the pains and gains?
The pains are gender induced, not getting paid as much as the guys for shows and the hustle in general. The gains are the satisfaction knowing I’m living my dream by doing what I love most as a career.
Your two singles, Irawo and Loving your way, how were they received?
Surprisingly, well. The Irawo video trended for several days on its release. Both songs have been and are still in the top 10 of most national radio countdown.
Have you had any collabo yet and with who?
Recently, a song of mine was leaked. It’s called Killing Me Softly featuring Timaya. I’ve also collabo’d with Wizkid and Kcee.
When are you releasing your album?
I’m releasing a 7-track next year. The album release date is to be announced.
I learnt you are working on a new single, can you tell us about it?
It’s a fusion of Afro pop and ragga/dancehall. It’s fun and fresh and like my nephew said -” OMG Aunty!!!! Are they ready for this?” I’m really excited about it.
What is unique about your new single that is not like the other songs?
It is very club worthy, very edgy and very different from the old me. I want to make music for the masses. I want the girl in Ajegunle or the teenager at British Intl School to enjoy the song. I hope the song becomes an anthem among women.
Who are your role models in the music industry?
Sound Sultan, Omawumi, Beyonce, Lauren Hill. These people speak the truth through their music in a universal language, be it through their lyrics or their performance on stage. I draw great inspiration from them.
Lots of people chorus your music but they do not see the face, how are working on that?
We are rebranding and focusing on the image as well as the music. We have spent time putting together a glam squad who make sure I always look right and carefully selected a publicist who is the best in her field. We have new images that are strong and for the public to see.
What is your relationship with Flytimes?
Flytime promoted me when I was fresh in Nigeria to embark on music. Sound Sultan actually introduced me to Cecil Hammond who saw the vision and he ran with it.
You were in the UK, why did you come back to Nigeria?
I was in London. A mentor of mine proposed I give Naija a try, become international as a solo act and re connect with my roots. This turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
What is your view about the Nigerian music industry?
It’s growing stronger every day. There is a presence and unity of more female artistes.
How do you tend to stand in the competitive environment?
Constantly evolving and staying relevant. I’ve been in this game since childhood, performing on grand stages in Asia since age 14. I have been through an intense four year boot camp under the training of the Notorious Mathew Knowles (who developed Destiny’s Child). I think at this point, I can stand anything.
Can you tell us about your background?
Born and raised in the UK to Nigerian parents. My mother was half Fulani and half Tapa while my dad is full fledged Yoruba.
Who is the man rocking your world?
He is my biggest secret but one day I’ll introduce you all.
What should your fans expect from you?
Everything new. Also catch my performance at Lagos Jazz Series, Hennessy Artistry club tour, Mary J Blige Divas concert all in Lagos over the next couple of months. We are also releasing our brand new single and video, Raga Ragga.
– DOLAPO AMODENI