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Seyi Shay Is Set to Light Up the UK Afrobeats Scene With 'Your Matter'

UK-Nigerian singer Seyi Shay talks about her new single, "Your Matter," and her debut on Island Records.

“I want to come back to Nigeria with good stories,” says Seyi Shay of her London concert in September.


Her latest single, “Your Matter,” has the fine balance of afro-bashment, as Caribbean as it's West African, but unmistakably the sound of London today.

Born in London herself, Shay was the lead singer of From Above, a band signed to Mathew Knowles—whose daughter, Beyoncé, the group supported on tour.

Shay has since moved on from the band and her confident 2015 debut, Seyi or Shay, (2015) included afropop delights like "Crazy" alongside Wizkid.

The growth of afropop has drawn the attention of big labels like Sony, who have Davido, Ycee and Wizkid on their roster. Shay’s deal is with Island Records, under whom she’ll continue releasing singles until she's prepared to put out an album, sometime next year.

Shay’s preferred approach to songwriting is to go with 'feel' first. “The melodies that you freestyle come from the soul, much more than when you think about the lyrics.”

But “Your Matter” came about through an old industry contact, now label head, who arranged a meeting with Team Salut, the songwriting and production group working out of London.

“By the time I got to the studio,” says Shay, “Team Salut had already created a record. Eugy was already on there. They had everything set up for me.”

Shay was as impressed by the research Team Salut did on her to make “Your Matter,” as she was by Efosa’s hook, which he freestyled upon hearing the song. “I decided to keep him on the record and Island Records were happy," she mentions. "I'm a firm believer in up-and-coming artists, so I didn't see any problem in giving him that chance. Plus, he sounded great.”

Shay’s music related businesses include a label imprint called Star Gurl, as well as brand endorsements for Gionee and Pepsi.

The ‘jungle-chic’ video for “Your Matter” is set in a lovely cottage, it finds Eugy searching for Shay among the lush plant life.

Shay’s work with Meji Alabi is worthy of more attention. Together they’re making some of the most tastefully-shot music videos around. As evident on “Mary,” “Right Now,” “Crazy,” and “Pack & Go," their clips combine well-suited locations, deft camera work and high-fashion into visual delights. “I work with African designers only," Shay explains, "their designs are always evolving, always fresh.”

As for Alabi, her long-term director, “I always look forward to how he will interpret my songs,” also adding that the videos were “all his concepts. I like the fact that different people are bringing different things to my record to create this great brand.”

News

The Ethiopian Government Has Asked Olympic Runner In Exile, Feyisa Lilesa, to Return Home

After two years in exile, the Olympic athlete will return home and receive a "hero's welcome."

Feyisa Lilesa, the Ethiopian runner who went into exile in 2016 after bravely protesting the Ethiopian government's brutal treatment of its Oromo population at the Rio Olympics, has been invited to return to home.

After living in self-imposed exile United States for two years the marathoner, who demonstrated by crossing his fists as he reached the finish line and claimed the silver medal, has been extended an offer to return to his homeland and compete for his country once again by the Ethiopian Athletics Federation and the country's Olympic committee. According to VOA News, the runner will return home in the coming weeks with his wife and children.

"Athlete Feyisa Lilesa has scored great results at the Rio Olympics and other athletics competitions enabling Ethiopia's flag to be hoisted to great heights," read a joint letter from the two athletics organizations.

"We want Lilesa to return to his home country to resume his athletics competition and upon his return we are prepared to give him a hero's welcome."

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Politics
Image via GovernmentZA's Flickr.

Could Justice Finally Be on the Horizon for Marikana Massacre Families?

New evidence suggests that the police intended to kill all along.

Today marks the sixth anniversary of the Marikana Massacre, when 34 mine-workers were gunned down by police after several days of wage disputes at Lonmin Mine in Rustenburg, North West province. New information was recently uncovered that undermines the police's longstanding claim that they acted in self-defence. If anything, it is a glimmer of hope for the families of the victims that remain left behind in the aftermath of that tragedy.

It was the worst mass civilian killing since the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre, where South African protesters were killed for opposing the Apartheid regime. The Marikana Massacre, in contrast, was the tragic consequence of week-long wage disputes and clashes between miners and the South African police.

While media footage appears to show the miners as the victims, police have always argued that they were acting in self defence. Consequently no officers involved have been charged. Instead, the surviving mineworkers face murder charges under the doctrine of common purpose. But unnerving facts have come to light that seem to make the police argument even less likely. This includes the ordering of 4000 rounds of live ammunition and several vans from the mortuary the day before the massacre.

I cannot even begin to unpack my anger and frustration at this terrible irony.

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popular

Remembering Aretha Franklin and Her Heartfelt Connection With Nelson Mandela

In honor of the Queen of Soul's immeasurable impact, we revisit her passionate support of Nelson Mandela, and the anti-apartheid movement, through her musical tributes.

Iconic singer, Aretha Franklin, the "Queen of Soul" passed away on Thursday after a battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 76.

Franklin was considered by many to be the greatest singer of all time. Her influence on popular music cannot be overstated. The legendary artist sold 75 million records and earned 18 Grammys in a career spanning six decades and she was influential in many global social movements as well.

Having been a widely-embraced public figure for so long, Franklin was present for some of the biggest events of the 20th century, including the funeral of Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King Jr., as well as the release of Nelson Mandela from prison in 1990.

Upon Mandela's release, the singer played a unique role in welcoming him to the States by performing at a freedom rally in his honor in Detroit. Rosa Parks, Jesse Jackson and Stevie Wonder were also in attendance for the historic night. During the celebration, Franklin called the anti-apartheid leader on stage, where he spoke about listening to and appreciating "the Detroit, Motown Sound" while he was in prison.

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