Deborah Oluwaseyi Joshua (born Oluwaseyi Odedere; December 21, 1985), professionally known by her stage name Seyi Shay (pronounced Shay-yee Shay), is a Nigerian-based singer, songwriter and actress. She wrote and produced three songs for the soundtrack to Konami’s video game, Crime Life: Gang Wars in (2005). She also wrote “You Will See”, a song that was included on Melanie C’s third studio album, Beautiful Intentions (2005). Shay wrote “White Lies”, a song from Chip’s Transition album.
In 2008, she became the lead singer for the now defunct pop girl group From Above. The group signed a recording deal with Sony’s Columbia Records and was managed by Mathew Knowles’ Music World Entertainment Company. In July 2015, Shay signed a record deal with Island Records. She released her debut studio album, Seyi or Shay, in November 2015. It was supported by the promotional singles “Irawo”, “Ragga Ragga”, and “Chairman”.
Shay was born and raised in Tottenham, London, England, to Nigerian parents. Her mother was from Northern Nigeria and her father is a native of Ife. She has two elder brothers and an older sister. She and her siblings were raised by their single mother. Shay grew up in a religious setting and felt like a single child during her adolescence. She started visiting Nigeria when she was two years old, and eventually attended the Command High School in Maryland, Lagos. She went back to London to complete her undergraduate studies. Her interest in music was influenced by members of her household. 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. Shay started performing at the age of 6, and joined her secondary school choir. She performed for the London Community Gospel Choir during their world tour, which included 13 cities in Japan. Shay was applauded for her performances in Japan. She studied music at a local UK college, and went on to study business management at the University of East London. In an interview with Lanre Odukoya of Thisday, Shay said that her mother wasn’t a staunch supporter of her musical ambitions. Moreover, her mother wanted her to become a doctor or lawyer. Prior to departing the Earth, her mother told her to focus on her music career and put God first.
And that is why the box show Africa is putting IRAWO first on the number 4 spot on this segment
- 4 – IRAWO
Shay released “Irawo” as the album’s lead single on 27th of July 2012. The song was produced by Del B and was originally titled “Erawo”. During the aforementioned interview with Ajose, Shay said that she wrote “Irawo” to inspire her colleagues and workmates to pull together. The music video for the song was shot and directed in Nigeria by Clarence Peters. It was uploaded onto YouTube on 3 June 2013, at a total length of 3 minutes and 47 seconds. The remix of “Irawo”, featuring rap vocals from Vector, was released on 6 December 2012.
NO.3 – MURDA FT PATORANKING
On 1 April 2014, Shay released the Dokta Frabz-produced single “Murda”. The song features additional vocals from Patoranking and Shaydee. Aribaba of Jaguda gave the song 9 out 10 stars, stating: “Seyi Shay’s flow is clean, comes as the perfecting to Patoranking’s yang. The use of familiar lyrics “Don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” makes the first time listening experience even more enjoyable.” On 11 May 2014, the music video for “Murda” was uploaded onto Vevo. It was directed by Meji Alabi for JM Films.
- 2 – BIA
Shay took a full jump in this song with increased tempo, more consistent Latino percussions, and harmonious trumpet fill. The video is all shades of sultry and colorful with exciting salsa dance routines that compliments the Latino group.
Her music career took an upswing when she signed her first ever record deal with No Apology, a record company affiliated with George Martin (commonly referred to as the “Fifth Beatle”). In 2006, Shay formed a girl band in the UK called Boadicea; they were managed by Ron Tom, the founder and manager of All Saints and Sugababes. The band separated after two years, and Shay decided to partake in the From Above UK singing audition. After the conclusion of the audition, she emerged as the lead vocalist for the aforementioned defunct group. The group consisted of five girls, including Shay. They got signed to Mathew Knowles’ management company after performing for him. They were taken to Houston to undergo energetic vocal and dance trainings. The group supported Beyoncé while she was in the UK for her I Am… World Tour. They presented an award at the 2011 MTV Europe Music Awards and had their own MTV reality show called Breaking From Above, which aired in over 166 countries around the world. The group later disassembled and Shay had an opportunity to continue her management deal with Mathew Knowles, as well as secure a recording contract with Sony. Shay decided to join Flytime Music after getting an offer from them. Shay has worked with a number of musicians, including Justin Timberlake, Brian Michael Cox, Darey, Bilal, Michelle Williams, Chip, Rob Knoxx, H-Money, and Cameron Wallace.
Artistry and role models
Although her musical style is primarily a combination of Afropop and R&B, Shay doesn’t conform to a particular genre of music. She believes that her musical prowess spans different genres. She also said that her music draws from things that inspire her. Shay has cited her mother, Mathew Knowles, 2face Idibia, Beyoncé, Tina Turner, Sound Sultan, Wizkid, and Omawumi as mentors.
Seyi Shay at the 2014 Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards
Shay performed at the 2013 COSON song awards. In July 2013, she performed at one of Big Brother Africa 8’s live eviction shows. On 20 July 2013, and she performed in Asaba for the 2013 edition of Star Music Trek. On 27 September 2013, Shay graced the stage at the Sisters with Soul concert, which was headlined by Mary J. Blige. On 20 November 2013, she performed “Bad” with Wale at the Johnnie Walker Step Up to VIP Lifestyle Launch event (held at the Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos). Shay was a supporting act on the 2013 Hennessy Artistry 2013 Club. In December 2013, she performed at the Harp Rhythm Unplugged concert. On 15 February 2014, Shay performed at Darey’s Love Like A Movie Concert alongside Kelly Rowland, D’banj, Tiwa Savage, Mo’ Eazy, Zaina, Timi Dakolo, Waje, Muna, JJC and Eva Alordiah, among others. She also played the lead role in the movie Lara & the Beat in 2018.
- 1 – YOLO
Off the album Summer Vibe that was released in 2018 and was nominated for The Headies Award for Best Music Video. Nigeria Entertainment Award for Music Video of the Year (Director).