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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.”

Interview

Sarkodie Is Not Feeling Any Pressure

The elite Ghanaian rapper affirms his king status with this seventh studio album, No Pressure.

Sarkodie is one of the most successful African rappers of all time. With over ten years of industry presence under his belt, there's no question about his prowess or skin in the game. Not only is he a pioneer of African hip-hop, he's also the most decorated African rapper, having received over 100 awards from close to 200 nominations over the span of his career.

What else does Sarkodie have to prove? For someone who has reached and stayed at the pinnacle of hip-hop for more than a decade, he's done it all. But despite that, he's still embracing new growth. One can tell just by listening to his latest album, No Pressure, Sarkodie's seventh studio album, and the follow-up to 2019's Black Love which brought us some of the Ghanaian star's best music so far. King Sark may be as big as it gets, but the scope of his music is still evolving.

Sonically, No Pressure is predominantly hip-hop, with the first ten tracks offering different blends of rap topped off with a handful of afrobeats and, finally, being crowned at the end with a gospel hip-hop cut featuring Ghanaian singer MOG. As far as the features go, Sark is known for collaborating mostly with his African peers but this time around he branches out further to feature a number of guests from around the world. Wale, Vic Mensa, and Giggs, the crème de la crème of rap in America and the UK respectively all make appearances, as well as Nigeria's Oxlade, South Africa's Cassper Nyovest, and his fellow Ghanaian artists Darkovibes and Kwesi Arthur.

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