Seyi Shay, A Biography, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia  


Seyi Shay
Seyi Shay.png

Seyi Shay performing for NdaniTV in January 2014
Background information
Birth name Oluwaseyi Odedere
Born 21 December 1985 (age 32)
TottenhamLondon, United Kingdom
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter, performer
Years active 2001 – present[A]
Labels Island Records
Associated acts

Deborah Oluwaseyi Joshua (born Oluwaseyi Odedere; 21 December 1985),[2][3] professionally known by her stage name Seyi Shay(pronounced Shay-yee Shay), is a Nigerian-based singer and songwriter. She wrote and produced three songs for the soundtrack to Konami‘s video game, Crime Life: Gang Wars (2005).[4][5] 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.[4] 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.[3] In November 2013, she signed an endorsement deal with telecommunications service provider Etisalat.[6][7] In July 2015, Shay signed a record deal with Island Records.[8] She released her debut studio album, Seyi or Shay, in November 2015. It was supported by the promotional singles “Irawo”, “Ragga Ragga”, and “Chairman”.

Life and career

Shay was born and raised in Tottenham, London, England, to Nigerian parents.[9] 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.[10] 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.[11]Moreover, her brother was a radio and club disc jockey. Shay started performing at the age of 6, and joined her secondary school choir.[11]She performed for the London Community Gospel Choir during their world tour, which included 13 cities in Japan.[11] 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.[1] 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.[11] Prior to departing the Earth, her mother told her to focus on her music career and put God first.[10]

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“).[11] 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.[10] 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.[12][13] 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 TimberlakeBrian Michael CoxDareyBilalMichelle WilliamsChip, Rob Knoxx, H-Money, and Cameron Wallace.[3]

Flytime Music

Shay was introduced to Sound Sultan during his visit to London in 2011. After listening to some of her demos, Sultan convinced her to relocate to Nigeria and pursue her musical career there.[1][14] During a project with Sound Sultan in the UK, Shay was introduced to Cecil Hammond of Flytime Promotions. Hammond signed Shay to his record label, Flytime Music, and decided to launch her solo career in Nigeria.[3] In 2013, Shay departed the record label. In an interview with Kehinde Ajose of Vanguard, Shay said she joined Flytime Music 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.[14]

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 Knowles2face IdibiaBeyoncéTina TurnerSound SultanWizkid, and Omawumi as mentors.[11][12][14][15]

Notable performances

Shay performed at the 2013 COSON song awards.[16] In July 2013, she performed at one of Big Brother Africa 8‘s live eviction shows.[17] On 20 July 2013, she performed in Asaba for the 2013 edition of Star Music Trek.[18] On 27 September 2013, Shay graced the stage at the Sisters with Soul concert, which was headlined by Mary J. Blige.[19] 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).[20] Shay was a supporting act on the 2013 Hennessy Artistry 2013 Club.[21]In December 2013, she performed at the Harp Rhythm Unplugged concert.[22] 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 DakoloWajeMuna, JJC and Eva Alordiah, among others.[23]

2011–2015:Seyi or Shay

Shay has released her debut studio album titled Seyi or Shay. Work on the album started as early as 2011. Shay has worked with a number of producers in Nigeria, including Jay Sleek, Tee Y Mix, Del B and Cobhams Asuquo. On 11 August 2011, she released “Loving Your Way” and “No Le Le”, two promotional singles that helped launched her singing career in Nigeria.[24][25]

On 27 July 2012, Shay released “Irawo” as the album’s lead single. The song was produced by Del B and was originally titled “Erawo”.[26] 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.[27] The remix of “Irawo”, featuring rap vocals from Vector, was released on 6 December 2012.[28]

In August 2013, Shay released the album’s second single “Killin’ Me Softly”, featuring Nigerian singer Timaya. The song was written and produced by Del B. Shay told Ajose that she felt in love with the song when she first heard it. Moreover, she reached out to Timaya for a verse because she wanted a different vibe on the song.[14] On 6 October 2013, Shay released “Ragga Ragga” and “Chairman” as the third and fourth singles from the album.[29] The songs were produced by Del B. The latter features vocals from KCee, a recording artist who was present during the song’s composition.[14] Prior to releasing the singles, Shay signed a partnership deal with the international talent company J-Management.[30]On 8 January 2014, Shay released the music video for “Ragga Ragga”; it was shot and directed in Lagos by Peters.[31] “Ragga Ragga” peaked at number 7 on MTV Base‘s Official Naija Top 10 chart from 15 March through 19 March 2014.[32]

In May 2013, Shay told Lanre Odukoya of Thisday that she recorded a single with Olamide. She said that working with him was easy because of their work ethic. She also told Odukoya that the song, written by Olamide, will be released in 2014.[10] Shay has been featured on the records of several promising artists, including Praiz, Mr. Walz,[33] Yung GreyC and Amir. On 1 April 2014, Shay released the Dokta Frabz-produced single “Murda”. The song features additional vocals from Patoranking and Shaydee.[34] Aribaba of Jaguda gave the song 9 out 10 stars, stating: “Seyi Shay’s flow is clean, comes as the perfect ying 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.”[35] On 11 May 2014, the music video for “Murda” was uploaded onto Vevo. It was directed by Meji Alabi for JM Films.[36]




As lead artist
Year Title Album
2011 “Loving Your Way” N/A
“No Le Le”
2012 “Irawo” TBA
“Irawo” (Remix) (featuring Vector) N/A
2013 “Chante” (featuring Ajuju)
“Killin’ Me Softly” (featuring Timaya) TBA
“Chairman” (featuring KCee)
“Ragga Ragga”
2014 “Murda” (featuring Patoranking and Shaydee) Seyi or Shay
2015 “Crazy” (featuring Wizkid )
“Right Now”
2016 “Pack and Go” (featuring Olamide )
As featured artist
Year Title Album
2013 “For You” (Praiz featuring Seyi Shay) TBA
“Paradise” (Mr Walz featuring Seyi Shay) Walz Have Ears
“Get Down” (Yung GreyC featuring Seyi Shay) TBA
“Yarinya” (Amir featuring Seyi Shay)
2014 “In Love” ( Wizkid featuring Seyi Shay)
2015 “Sugar” (Ayoola featuring Seyi Shay)
“The Motion” (DJ Lambo featuring Seyi Shay, Cynthia Morgan & Eva Alordiah)
2016 “Only You (Remix)” (Nikki Laoye featuring Seyi Shay) TBA


Year Title Director Ref
2016 The Motion As featured artiste Clarence Peters [37]

Awards and nominations

Year Event Prize Recipient Result Ref
2015 2015 MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMA) Best Female & Video of the Year TBA Nominated [38][39]
2014 2014 Channel O Music Video Awards Most Gifted Female “Irawo” Nominated [40]
City People Entertainment Awards Musician of the Year (Female) Herself Nominated [41]
2014 Nigeria Entertainment Awards Female Artist of the Year Nominated [42]
World Music Awards World’s Best Song “Ragga Ragga” Nominated [43]
World’s Best Video Nominated
World’s Best Female Artiste Herself Nominated
World’s Best Live Act Nominated
World’s Best Entertainer of the Year Nominated
2013 The Headies 2013 Best Vocal Performance (Female) “Irawo” Nominated [44]
Next Rated Herself Nominated
City People Entertainment Awards Best New Musician of the Year (Female) Won [45]
Nigeria Entertainment Awards Best New Act of the Year Nominated [46]
Chase Awards Artiste of the Year (Female) N/A [47]
Song of the Year “Irawo” N/A


  1. Jump up^ Shay told Kemi Lawal of The Punch that she became a professional singer at the age of 14.[1]


  1. Jump up to:a b c “Men see me as a sex symbol – Seyi Shay”. 17 March 2013. Archived from the original on 3 May 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  2. Jump up^ “Beyonce’s dad ‘keeps us grounded'”. Independent. 29 December 2011. Retrieved 26 April2017.
  3. Jump up to:a b c d “Seyi returns home with a promise – Vanguard News”. 28 July 2012. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  4. Jump up to:a b “ARTISTE UNCENSORED: I’m very passionate about Nigerian music”. 10 October 2012. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  5. Jump up^ “News “Soundtrack to a Crime Life” – Konami”. Archived from the original on 3 May 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  6. Jump up^ “Top ‘returnee’ musicians ruling Nigerian airwaves – Vanguard News”. 25 January 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  7. Jump up^ Seyi Shay signs endorsement deal with Etisalat (9 February 2014). “Seyi Shay signs endorsement deal with Etisalat”. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  8. Jump up^ Sanusi, Hassan (23 June 2015). “Seyi Shay signs record deal with UK’s Island Records”. Nigerian Entertainment Today. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  9. Jump up^ Onibada, Ade (16 April 2016). “London To Lagos: British-Nigerian Songstress Seyi Shay”. Young Voices. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  10. Jump up to:a b c d Powered by DMflex WebGen — (25 May 2013). “Seyi Shay: Touring Uk With Beyonce Was Fantastic, Articles”. Thisday Live. Archived from the original on 3 May 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  11. Jump up to:a b c d e f Agadibe, Christian (13 April 2013). “Seyi Shay: Beyonce’s dad made me!”The Sun. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  12. Jump up to:a b Personalities (22 August 2013). “SEYI SHAY: MY FIRST PROFESSIONAL HIT MUSICALLY WAS A TOUR TO JAPAN AT AGE 14”. Rhodies World. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  13. Jump up^ 26 June 2012 5:23 pm Updated: 29 June 2012 11:39 am. “Mathew Knowles’ Reality Show ‘Breaking From Above’ Premieres in America”. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  14. Jump up to:a b c d e “Why I don’t read comments on blogs – Seyi Shay”. 22 November 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  15. Jump up^ “I Admire 2Face Idibia, Says Singer Seyi Shay”. P.M. NEWS Nigeria. 19 March 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  16. Jump up^ “COSON Song Awards soon for network TV broadcast”. Champion Online News. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  17. Jump up^ “Seyi Shay storms Big Brother”. Champion Online News. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  18. Jump up^ “Tiwa Savage, Seyi Shay To Rock Asaba, Lagos”. P.M. NEWS Nigeria. 19 July 2013. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  19. Jump up^ “How Mary J. Blige rocked Lagos – Vanguard News”. 5 October 2013. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  20. Jump up^ “Wale, D’Banj, Seyi Shay headline Johnnie Walker’s step up to vip lifestyle launch – Life, Slider”. Archived from the original on 3 May 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  21. Jump up^ “Dbanj, Burna Boy, Phyno & Others Party Hard at the Hennessy Artistry Club Tour 2013”. Bella Naija. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  22. Jump up^ “Artistes shine at Rhythm Unplugged”. The Sun. 25 December 2013. Retrieved 2 May2014.
  23. Jump up^ “Breaking News… Kelly Rowland to Perform at Darey’s Love Like a Movie – Season 2!”. 27 January 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  24. Jump up^ “Seyi Shay – Loving Your Way + No Le Le”. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  25. Jump up^ “New Video: Seyi Shay – Loving Your Way”. Bella Naija. 11 August 2011. Retrieved 2 May2014.
  26. Jump up^ “Seyi Shay’s Back With a Bang! Listen to Seyi Shay – Erawo & Loving Your Way Music Video”. Bella Naija. 27 July 2012. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  27. Jump up^ “Seyi Shay set to shine with Irawo video”. 25 May 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  28. Jump up^ “Now Playing: Seyi Shay Feat. Vector – Erawo Remix”. Bella Naija. 10 December 2012. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  29. Jump up^ Akinloye, Dimeji (7 October 2013). “MUSIC: SEYI SHAY – Ragga Ragga + Chairman ft. Kcee”. Hip Hop World Magazine. Archived from the original on 3 May 2014. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  30. Jump up^ “Singer Seyi Shay Signs New Deal Releases Hot Singles ‘Ragga Ragga’ & ‘Chairman’ Ft Kcee” (in German). 7 October 2013. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  31. Jump up^ “Teen Y! Video Review: Seyi Shay’s Ragga Ragga deserves an “A” for audaciousness | Teen Y!”. 13 January 2014. Archived from the original on 3 May 2014. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  32. Jump up^ Music & Tv. “Seyi Shay Co-Hosts This Week’s MTV Base Official Naija Top 10 Chart”. Rhodies World. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  33. Jump up^ Ogunjimi, Opeoluwani (7 January 2014). “Seyi Shay Drops Paradise”Daily Times of Nigeria. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  34. Jump up^ “iTunes – Music – Murda – Single by Seyi Shay”. 1 April 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  35. Jump up^ “Two To Review: Seyi Shay – Murda Ft. Patoranking & Shaydee + May D – All Over You”. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  36. Jump up^ “VIDEO PREMIERE: Seyi Shay Ft. Patoranking and Shaydee – MURDA”. 11 June 2014. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  37. Jump up^ “DJ Lambo DJ, Seyi Shay, Cynthia Morgan, Eva Alordiah light up in ‘The Motion’ video” Joey Akan. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  38. Jump up^ “Seyi Shay Singer thanks ‘God almighty’ for MAMA nomination”Pulse Nigeria. Joey Akan. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  39. Jump up^ “#MTVMAMA2015 NOMINEES ANNOUNCED!”MTV AMA. MTV. Archived from the original on 14 June 2015. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  40. Jump up^ Marshall, Rhodé (5 September 2014). “Channel O Africa announces Music Video Awards nominees”. Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  41. Jump up^ “Rita Dominic, Davido, Tiwa Savage, Majid Michel – 2014 City People Entertainment Awards Nominees”. 6 June 2014. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
  42. Jump up^ Abimboye, Micheal (31 May 2014). “Pop duo, Skuki, reject Nigerian Entertainment Awards nomination”Premium Times. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
  43. Jump up^ “D’banj, Tuface, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Davido, Kcee Nominated at World Music Awards”. 20 February 2014. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  44. Jump up^ “Olamide wins big @ Headies 2013 + full list of winners”. 27 December 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  45. Jump up^ “2013 City People Entertainment Awards: First Photos & Full List of Winners”. Bella Naija. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  46. Jump up^ Abimboye, Micheal (31 May 2013). “Nigerian Entertainment Award announces 2013 nominees”. Premium Times. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  47. Jump up^ “CHASE Awards 2013 unveils nominees – Premium Times Nigeria”. 12 October 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
If you like this, please share!