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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.”

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Photo courtesy of 1-54/SUTTON.

1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair Landing in Marrakech is 2018's Most Anticipated Art Event

The leading art fair dedicated to contemporary African art makes its mark on the continent for the first time this weekend.

This weekend, 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, the leading art fair devoted to contemporary African art, will debut in Marrakech, Morocco. The announcement of the Fair's expansion to the continent last year has left aficionados of contemporary African art in eager anticipation of this "homecoming"—this author included.

1-54 debuted in London in 2013. Although an expansion to New York followed, a presence on the continent was always part of the long-term vision of the founder Touria El Glaoui. Finally, the time has now arrived.

Here are five reasons why we're looking forward to 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair Marrakech.

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This Olympic Figure Skater Blew Us Away Again By Pulling Off a Costume Change Mid-Routine

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French-Congolese and Ivorian figure skater, Maé-Bérénice Méité, has pretty much been the life of the Winter Olympic figure skating competition.

Earlier this month, the athlete had the internet shook when she performed her opening routine to two Beyoncé songs. Now she's back with even more black girl magic.

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Video still via YouTube.

10 Stand Out Moments From Janelle Monáe's Powerful Music Videos

Janelle Monae came back making a statement—and we're just as obsessed as you are.

We've got to talk about Janelle Monáe.

Over the past half decade, she's embarked on a profound journey that's solidified her as an artist, creator and activist who isn't afraid to shoot down the stars—or shoot with them.

After having roles in Hidden Figures and Moonlight—two Oscar nominated movies where one won an Oscar, a stellar speech at the Grammy's and a stunning presence at the Black Panther red carpet, she's ready to grace us with "Dirty Computer," the latest musical venture in her Afrofuturistic saga.

To whet our appetites before the album, which is set to release on April 27, Janelle dropped not one but two music videos yesterday. Both are distinctly entertaining: one is a black, intersectional feminist anthem and the other a psychedelic soundtrack of sexual fluidity.

Watch both, then read some of the highlights we gathered from the hypnotizing visuals and powerful wordplay.

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