Deborah Oluwaseyi Joshua popularly known by the stage name- Seyi Shay is a soulful singer, songwriter, recording artist, dynamic performer and actress. She is carving out her place among the accomplished performers of our day.
Early life and background of Seyi Shay
Seyi Shay was born on December 21,1985 in Tottenham, London to Nigerian parents. Her father is an indigene of Osun state while her mum hails from the Northern region in Nigeria. She’s the last of four children. She started visiting Nigeria when she was two years old. She had her elementary education at Command High School in Maryland, Lagos. Seyi Shay relocated back to her birth country afterwards for her university studies. She earned a degree in music and business management from a local UK college and the University of East London respectively. Born into a family with an extensive background in music, it took Seyi Shay only a few years to master some aspects of music. Her late mother was a chorister and her sister used to compose songs for TV. Moreover, her brother was a radio and club disc jockey.
Seyi Shay’s Rise to Fame
The Tottenham-born Nigerian R&B singer began singing at the age of six. At 14, she joined the internationally acclaimed London Community Gospel Choir (LCGC) where she embarked on a world-wide tour that included 13 cities in Japan. At that period, her mother wasn’t a staunch supporter of her musical ambitions. Moreover, her mother wanted her to become a doctor or lawyer. Prior to departure from earth, her mother told her to focus on her music career and put God first.
Seyi Shay’s Music Career
Shay signed her first record deal with No Apology, a record company in affiliation with George Martin (Fifth Beatle). In 2006, she formed a girl Band, Boadicea. The band was managed by Ron Tom, founder and manager of All Saints and Sugarbabes. However, it was disbanded in 2008. The Nigerian-based artist became the lead vocalist of the group after she won the highly-coveted ”From Above UK singing audition”, which led to the group signing a deal with Mathew Knowles’ management company and undergoing serious vocal and dance training.
The girls also launched their own MTV reality show titled: “Breaking From Above” (it aired in over 166 countries across the world) and were also present at the 2011 MTV Europe Music Awards, where they presented an award to recipients. Seyi Shay later scored a recording deal with Sony and has since be making a milestone in her career.
Seyi Shay’s love for music and performing has led her to write and produce for some major projects and artists including: three songs from the Konami game soundtrack “Crime Life“, the track “you will see” performed by former spice girl Mel C featured on her album “Beautiful Intentions” and the International hit “White Lie” which she wrote for rapper Chipmunk and featured Koleena of Diddy’s “dirty money”. Apparently, Seyi has worked with numerous bigwigs in the music industry both locally and international.
In 2011, Seyi returned to Nigeria following Sound Sultan’s advice to relocate back home and pursue her music career there. On her arrival, she was introduced to Cecil Hammond who signed her under the Flytime Music label.
In 2012, she released a single, Irawo. Irawo became a hit and garnered massive airplay in Nigeria. She left the record label a year after. The Afro pop singer disclosed in an interview with Vanguard newspaper that she had joined the label to promote her brand. She also said that while signed to the record label, she was very much in control of her brand. Moreover, she said she still has a relationship with the label. Seyi Shay’s charisma and energy keeps her on top of her game as she moves forward with her solo career.
Shay released her debut studio album Seyi or Shay in November 2015. She’s been working on the album since 2011. Seyi or Shay is preceded by five singles which include; Murda (2014), Crazy, (2014), Jangilova (2015), Right Now (2015) and Right Now ‘Remix’ (2015). The album incorporates a genre of RnB, afropop, dancehall and soul and it expresses the two sides of the singer as a person and musician. It featured vocals from Sound Sultan, Wizkid, Iyanya, Banky W, Femi Kuti, Flavour, Shaydee, D’Banj, Timaya, Cynthia Morgan, and Patoranking.
Her second studio album titled: “Electric Package” was released in 2018. Shay’s major role models are her mother, Beyoncé, 2face Idibia, Wizkid, Sound Sultan, Omawumi, Mathew Knowles, and Tina Turner.
Some of her notable performances include COSON song awards (2013), Big Brother Africa 8’s live eviction show (July 2013), Star Music Trek (July 2013 in Asaba), Hennessy Artistry 2013 Clubs (as a supporting Act), Harp Rhythm Unplugged concert (December 2013), and much more. On 15 February 2014, Shay shared the same stage with stars like Kelly Rowland, D’banj, Tiwa Savage, Mo’ Eazy, Zaina, Timi Dakolo, Waje, Muna, JJC and Eva Alordiah at Darey’s Love Like A Movie concert.
Seyi Shay starred in a 2018 Nigerian film, Lara and the Beat. The movie was directed by Tosin Coker and Tolu Olusoga. It also featured Vector, Somkele Iyamah, Wale Ojo, Sharon Ooja, Shaffy Bello and Uche Jombo.
In March 2019, Shay announced on Instagram that she had been given a concert residency in the United Kingdom. The 2-night residency at the Biosdale of Canary Wharf in London was held on the 29 and 30 May 2019. As an international artist, Seyi Shay isn’t afraid to explore new sounds as evidenced by the fusion of international sounds and the core elements of afrobeat in her music. Shay doesn’t conform to a particular genre of music. She believes that her musical prowess spans different genres.
Seyi Shay’s charitable works and philantropic acts
Due to her love for the girl-child, Seyi established a charity, Shay A Ray of Hope in 2015. The charity focuses on the underserved children, women and most especially helping the girl child. Seyi Shay has continued to use her international fame to promote justice for women as she collaborated with some of the prominent entertainers from around the world in a remake of of the Spice Girls “Wannabe” video which was presented at the United Nations General Assembly titled “What I really want “. Her goal is to shed light on global issues and develop better solutions and more regulations for the injustices of women and young girls, world-wide poverty and climate change.
She’s also an ambassador for Genevieve Pink Ball Foundation, she sang the song “Because we care”. The aim of the song is to give hope and encourage breast cancer patients. She is also a staunch supporter of Slum 2 School projects.
Seyi Shay’s Relationship
The sultry Nigerian songstress is still very much single. In the past, She’s being linked to Wizkid and Vector . She hopes to have a family of her own soon. For now, it is not known to the media if she is secretly dating someone or not but her fans are pretty sure she would show her man to the world someday.
Seyi Shay’s Endorsements
Seyi is a brand ambassador to Barcardi Freezer along side Sean Tizzle and Yemi Alade. Also, she was endorsed as an ambassador to Samsoon Telecomunication, a service provider to Etisalat now 9jamobile.
Additionally, in 2015, she joined Wizkid and Tiwa Savage as brand ambassadors to Pepsi. In 2016, Nigeria Stock Exchange unveiled her and Burna Boy as ambassadors. And in 2017, she became the face of Gionee phone brand.
Awards and nominations
Seyi has been nominated for several awards such as The Headies, Channel O, MTV Africa and many more.
She’s won the following awards:
New Musician of the Year, City People Entertainment Awards, 2013
Choice Female Artist of the Year, Nigerian Teen Choice Awards, 2015
Best Collaboration of the Year, Nigerian Entertainment Awards, 2015
R&B Artist of the Year, Nigerian Entertainment Awards, 2016
Exemplary Female Artist, Nigerian Ten Choice Award, 2016
Afropop Artist of the Year, Nigeria Entertainment Awards, 2017
Seyi Shay’s Net Worth
According to Online sources, Seyi’s net worth is estimated at $1.2 million.
No doubt, Seyi is a talented vocalist who has made her mark in the Nigerian music industry.