My privacy more important than fame, fortune – Seyi Shay

Singer, Oluwaseyi Joshua, popularly known as Seyi Shay, tells BLESSING ENENAITE about her career and other issues

How would you describe the reception of your latest album, ‘Big Girl’?

It has been very well and good. It had over two million streams in one month and people are surprised that the sound is so different. It is always good to surprise people with new music and I am happy people have what they have been asking for all this while.

Having been in the music industry for a while, what are the elements that helped to sustain your name over the years?

I think it is about constantly evolving; keeping up with the times and staying relevant.

As a female artist, do you feel pressured to put in more work than your male counterparts?

Not really. I never feel pressured. I do what my heart tells me to do. I do what makes me happy because I know that when I am happy, people would see that. Those that are happy would not just be happy for me but for themselves, and fans would see that too.

You have a show coming up in London. What should your fans be expecting?

My fans should be expecting live music, an intimate setting, performances of songs off the Big Girl album and some of my older songs as well.

What influences your decision to delve into acting?

Lara and the Beat was more like a musical movie. Being a musician, the directors and the producers decided I was the best person to play the lead role so, I did not go looking for it. It just happened. It came looking for me.

Your mother was a dedicated Christian before she passed on. Have you ever felt like giving gospel music a shot?

Not really. I don’t think I have to do gospel music because I am a Christian. However, I have a nice song with Nikki Laoye and I don’t mind doing gospel music in the future. I have no problem with that.

Do you go through any voice training before you sing?

I do a lot of vocal warm-ups and exercises before I get on stage. I have been singing my whole life. So, my vocal muscles are quite durable.

What are the challenges you face as a female artiste in Nigeria?

I think women pitching other women against one another is a challenge. It does not allow us to grow the way we are supposed to. I also think there are not enough (female) artists doing operating on the level that most of our male counterparts are operating. That gives us a bit of a challenge as well because there is not much variety to choose from.

It has been said that female artists in Nigeria see themselves more as competitors. What do you have to say about this?

I think that applies to some people; not everybody. I also think it is more of a nature thing; not just the music industry. I think by nature, women compete with one another more than men. I don’t know if that is part of our genetic make-up or DNA. I cannot explain it but it is the same all over the world.

Which artist would you like to feature on a song that you had not had the opportunity to?

I would love to feature Adele, Sade Adu and maybe, Burna Boy.

In what ways did Sound Sultan influence the growth of your career and do you have any plans of keeping his memory alive?

Sound Sultan will forever live in my heart. He is the reason I got into the industry in the first place. He brought me to Nigeria, introduced me to

the industry and mentored me too. He will forever be a part of my story. His family is my family and I still see them every week. I have a responsibility to be a big sister to his children. And, that is what I am doing. His memory would also be with me, no matter what.

You had a public quarrel with Tiwa Savage last year. How was it finally resolved?

I think it just died down. It was not a ‘quarrel’ because one party was doing all the shouting. I just left it like that because at times, one has to let people be who they are, and let God do the rest.

Do you have any plans to cooperate with Tiwa Savage anytime soon or in the future?

There are no plans spoken about yet and I would like to see what God has in store for me personally, as a big girl now. I think I am just moving to bigger and better things.

Some persons said your judgment on the contestants of some contestants of Nigerian Idol last year was very harsh. Did you ever regret some of the words you said to them?

No, I don’t regret anything because everything I said was out of love (for them), genuine love for my craft and wanting people to be better.

It is perceived that there is no cooperation among female artists, and some people say yhat is why they are sometimes not taken seriously. What is your reaction to that?

There is some truth to it and there is some speculation as well. I think everyone is trying to get to the top and be a star in their own right. And, I think however people choose to do that is their business. They don’t have to fake or force friendship if they cannot keep up with it. Collaboration is relative. One collaborates with who one likes and who one wants, which I have done all my life. I have collaborated with DJ Cuppy, Yemi Alade, Niniola, Simi and Victoria Kimani. I have cooperated with a lot of female artists. If they did not want it, they would not have done it.

You recently announced your engagement. Should your fans be expecting your wedding anytime soon?

Perhaps, the wedding has already been done. Or, maybe it hasn’t. But, that is not public news to anybody. It is my business and personal life. Where I will always like to win is by keeping my private life out of the public eye and out of social media. That is one of my mantras and my principles.

Some have speculated that you were replaced as a judge on Nigerian Idol because you are pregnant. What’s your reaction to that?

Maybe, it is true. Only Nigerian Idols know why but I know I could not be a judge on the show again because I had personal things to attend to. I have to focus on my new album, and promote it. I have a personal life which I also have to focus on, and that is more important to me than fame or fortune.

How do you handle trolls on social media?

I let them be who they are because I found out that these trolls have nothing better to do and one cannot blame them for trolling other people. It is their job. One just has to let people be who they are. When one looks deeply, one will realise that these trolls are people that one knows, and I think that would hurt more. I don’t tend to look or listen closely at all. I just let them do what they have to do and I do what I have to do, which is to get on with my life.

What other projects should your fans be expecting from you this year?

The video for Big Girl has been released. My show in London was on February 25 and 26. More videos for songs on the Big Girl album are already on the way, and (I am working on) new music (as well).

What are your most memorable moments as a singer?

I have so many. One of them is touring and supporting Beyonce on her tour in the United Kingdom. Other memorable moments were performing on stage with Newo at the MTV Music Awards in South Africa, winning the award for Best RnB song with Janet Taylor for Give me Lovebeing a judge on Nigerian Idol, starring in the movie, Lara and the Beat, among others. I am proud of every milestone (I have attained).

What do you consider to be your most embarrassing moment as an entertainer?

Every now and again, we (artistes) fall down on stage. Sometimes, we get misquoted on social media but often, I don’t put myself out there to be embarrassed. I intentionally go out there with the best intention and I try not to do things that will embarrass me.

What are your hobbies?

I love cooking.

How do you like to dress?

I love to dress comfortably. For the past one year, I have been wearing a lot of baggy and comfortable clothing and fashionable attire. That is what I love.

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