Deborah Oluwaseyi professionally known as Seyi Shay is a Nigerian-based singer, songwriter and actress.
Shay was born and raised in Tottenham, London, England, to Nigerian parents.
Her mother is from Northern Nigeria and her father is a native of Ife. She has two elder brothers and an elder 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 is a radio and club disc jockey. Shay joined her secondary school choir and started performing at the age of 6. 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 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.
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 now defunct girl group From Above.
The group inked a record deal with Mathew Knowles’ management company after performing for him. They were taken to Houston to undergo energetic vocal and dance trainings.
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. Instead, she made a decision 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 in 2011. After listening to some of her demos, Sultan convinced her to relocate to Nigeria and pursue her musical career there. In addition to meeting Sultan, Shay was introduced to Cecil Hammond of Flytime Promotions. Hammond signed her to his record label Flytime Music and decided to launch her solo career in Nigeria. In 2013, Shay left Flytime Music and told Vanguard newspaper that she had joined the label 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.