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Seyi Shay

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Name:  Deborah Oluwaseyi Joshua 

Stage or Nickname:  Seyi Shay

Date of Birth: December 21st 1985

Relationship Status: Single

Occupation: Singer

Genre Of Music: Afro Pop 


Deborah Oluwaseyi Joshua is a Nigerian based England born singer-songwriter, recording artist, performer, and record producer professionally known by her stage name Seyi Shay (pronounced Shay-yee Shay).


She was born in England on 21 December 1985 to Nigerian parents. Her mother was from Northern Nigeria and her father was a native of Ife. She has two elder brothers and an older sister. She and her siblings were raised by their single mother.

She started visiting Nigeria when she was two years old, and attended Command High School in Maryland, Lagos and then went back to London to complete her undergraduate studies. Her interest in music was influenced by members of her household. Her late mother sang in the church choir, her sister used to compose songs for TV and her brother was a radio and club disc jockey. Shay started performing at the age of 6, and was part of her secondary school choir. She performed for the London Community Gospel Choir during their world tour, which included 13 cities in Japan. She studied music at a UK college, and went on to study Business Management at the University of East London.

Her mother wasn't a staunch supporter of her musical ambitions as she wanted her to be a doctor or lawyer but before dying she gave Seyi her blessings telling her to focus on her music career and put God first.


In 2005 she wrote and produced three songs for the soundtrack to Konami's video game Crime Life: Gang Wars and also wrote "You Will See", a song that was included on Melanie C's third studio album Beautiful Intentions. Shay wrote "White Lies", a song from Chip's Transition album.

In 2006 she formed a 5 girl group “Boadicea” with her as lead singer. They were managed by Ron Tom, the founder and manager of All Saints and Sugababes. Seyi went for the UK singing audition and emerged as the lead vocalist for the aforementioned defunct group. 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”. 

The Boadicea

In 2011 they presented an award at the 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 Matthew 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.


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 music career there. 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. In 2013, Shay departed the record label. During a November 2013 interview with Kehinde Ajose of Vanguard, Shay said she joined Flytime Music to promote her brand. She 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.

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, Matthew Knowles, 2face Idibia, Beyoncé, Tina Turner, Sound Sultan, Wizkid, and Omawumi as mentors.

She has done a lot of notable performances.

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, 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.

On 11th August 2011, she released “Loving Your Way” and “No Le Le”, two promotional singles that helped launched her singing career in Nigeria.

On 27th July 2012, Shay released “Irawo” as the upcoming album’s lead single. The song was produced by Del B and was originally titled “Erawo”. During an interview with Ajose, Shay said that she wrote “Irawo” to inspire her colleagues and workmates to pull together. The remix of “Irawo”, featuring Vector, was released on 6 December 2012.

In August 2013, Shay released the album’s second single “Killin’ Me Softly” featuring Reggae singer Timaya. The song was written and produced by Del B. Shay told Ajose that she fell 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. On 6 October 2013, Shay released “Ragga Ragga” and “Chairman” as the third and fourth singles from her upcoming debut studio album. The songs were produced by Del B. The latter features vocals from KCee, a recording artist who was present during the song’s composition. Prior to releasing the singles, Shay signed a partnership deal with the international talent company J-Management. On 8 January 2014, Shay released the music video for “Ragga Ragga”; it was shot and directed in Lagos by Peters. “Ragga Ragga” peaked at number 7 on MTV Base’s Official Naija Top 10 chart from 15 March through 19 March 2014.

On 1st April 2014, Shay released “Murda” featuring Patoranking and Shaydee. 

In November 2015, she released her debut studio album titled Seyi or Shay. It was supported by the promotional singles “Irawo”, “Ragga Ragga”, and “Chairman”.


Year Award
2015 Seyi or Shay


Year Award
2013 City People Entertainment Awards - Best New Musician of the Year (Female)


In November 2013, she signed an endorsement deal with telecommunications service provider Etisalat and in April 2016 she was endorsed as a brand ambassador for Pepsi.


She is not married.


Crazy Irawo Jangilova
Loving Your Way Murda No Le Le
Killin' Me Softly Ragga Ragga Right Now

VIDEO - Murda


Article Credit: Kenechukwu Edeh

Updated 3 Years ago

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