The YNaija Interview: ‘2baba, Sound Sultan invested in me financially and emotionally’ – Seyi Shay

Beyonce once said ‘A true diva is graceful, talented, strong, fearless, brave and someone with humility.’

Deborah Oluwaseyi Joshua also known as Seyi Shay comes close to this fine definition of a diva.

Born and raised in London, Seyi, from the age of 6 knew she was born to be a star. From singing for the London Community Gospel Choir to touring with Beyonce, she would appear to some- to have garnered some semblance of accomplishment.

However, she seems to want more.

Despite having had different tastes of the limelight across the world, Seyi took a surprising leap by relocating to Nigeria with one goal- to ignite a musical revolution that would see her put her native country on the world stage.

Teaming up with the Cecil Hammond-led Flytime entertainment after turning down a juicy deal with Beyonce’s dad, Matthew Knowles and Sony- Seyi released songs like Irawo and Raga Raga which were both on constant radio rotation across the country.

However, this diva in the making, made a significant decision in 2013 by leaving Flytime for rising music management outfit J Management.

But Seyi didn’t get the music industry’s attention till 2014- when her hit single Murda featuring Patoranking and Shaydee turned out to be a major hit.

The song wowed audiences as it showed the brilliant vocalist’s versatility.

Singles such as the Wizkid-assisted single Crazy and the romantic Right now further silenced critics as she appeared to have proven that she is here to stay and hold her own.

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Now with an album under her belt and a number of mouth watering endorsement deals, Seyi Shay aims to conquer the world after signing a record deal with Island Records UK, a division of Universal Music Group (UMG).

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YNaija’s entertainment reporter, Oreoluwa Peters recently caught up with her for a brief interview to talk about her international album due this year, love and family.

What’s on the horizon for Seyi Shay in 2016?

In 2016, I will be recruiting more fans from different territories and different demographics. Hopefully around Africa and the world. I’m also releasing an international project. A couple of projects but the main one is through my record label, Island records.

You mentioned that on coming back to Nigeria, Sound Sultan housed you. In that time, what kept you motivated that you were going to make it in Nigeria’s highly competitive music industry?

When I came back to Nigeria under the wings of Sound Sultan, Cecil Hammond and 2Face Idibia… those three guys really kept me grounded. They invested in me spiritually, mentally, emotionally and financially. Honestly, it was just basically not to let my family down.

How was growing up like?

Growing up was fantastic. I grew up with two older brothers, one elder sister from my mum’s side and we lived together in London. My mum raised us well, she worked hard to provide for us. She passed away in 2006. It was heartbreaking but that’s one of the things that helped me to push harder to do more and turn out to be one of Africa’s best female singers.

Your Crazy video featuring Wizkid got the internet buzzing as everyone was surprised at the chemistry between both of you. How would you describe the relationship with him?

Wizkid and I are like this naughty, rebellious bunch of kids. Very playful and very good friends. He has been there for me from the day I met him. He has supported me. We have sang on stage together. He has given me music for free. Crazy video was just purely entertainment. Shock factor and nothing else.

What inspired your switch from Flytime entertainment to J Management?

You know Flytime is not a management company. It’s more of a promotional company that everybody knows. I was with them for the promotional muscle. They promoted me well, they broke me well in Nigeria, they did their job. I needed music management so I found J Management and they kept my sh_t together pretty much. They did a lot with my branding and they helped my brand attain what you now see. Therein those their strength lies. I am very happy with my team right now.

How did you decide on J Management?

Banky W introduced me to Jimmy Adesanya, who is one of the partners in J management.

Can you explain the whole idea behind Seyi or Shay?

The only thing I can do is keep the mystery there. Between Seyi and Shay, there is another person and that is the me that my family sees, my boyfriend sees, my team sees, and right now, what you are seeing.

Now that we know you are taken, what is it about a man that tickles your fancy?

He needs to be God fearing first. He needs to be extremely intelligent and be an intellectual. He has to be caring so those three things are very important to me.

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