Deborah Oluwa-Seyi Joshua is one of the newest acts in the Nigerian music industry. Having schooled and lived in the UK for many years, she’s back in the country to make an impact on the Nigerian scene. In this chat with Showtime Celebrity, Seyi talks about her family, life abroad, music and what she would have done better if given the opportunity to undo the past.
What kind of family values did your parents instill In you, and how much were you influenced by these values?
My parents are devoted Christians, so they passed on to us strong Christian values which have helped in no small measures to shape my future. In my family, we believe in the principles of hardwork. These values have kept me going spiritually and I’m very hard working.
What about your educational background?
I had my primary school in the UK, and came to Nigeria where I did part of my secondary school at Command College, Ikeja, Lagos. Thereafter, I went back to the UK to complete my secondary education.
I got admitted into the University of East London where I studied Music Business Management.
How did you discover your talent for singing?
My sister was a gospel singer cum songwriter. She used to sing to my tender appreciation. My fond memories of her musical exploits was when I was five years old.
Then, my brother was also a DJ and he used to spin his decks at home for hours on end, and all I did was to sit beside him, and listen to his music. My late mother was a lead singer in the church choir. So, music runs in the blood of my family.
So when did you actually start playing music professionally?
With the passage of time, I just found myself following their footsteps naturally, as I joined a community choir. And I had the opportunity of touring Japan with them on a yearly Christmas road show they usually organise there.
Then, I was only 15 years. So, it was from there that I decided to pursue a career in music, while teaming up with my childhood friend and a music producer H-Money way back in 2001.
Aside possessing the gift of singing, what are you doing to develop your talent properly?
I attend singing lessons as well as performance coaching. I write most of my songs and also, I write for other artistes. And before I record any song at all, whether it belongs me or someone else, I make sure I vocally produce them- this helps me stay in practice and to grow.
Why did it take you so long to come to debut in Nigeria?
I’ll say that the delay was due to my education. At the same time, my girl-band, From Above, was just gaining grounds in the UK and I couldn’t just abandon them.
Also, I had to have the right team here in Nigeria and this eventually happened early last year when I met my now mentor, Sound Sultan.
So what did you achieved musically while abroad?
I’ve achieved work ethics, connections and relationships with some of the most accomplished artistes. I took part in supporting roles during tours like the Beyonce’s ‘I am’ Tour in 2009.
I have songs on various albums worldwide and an international record deal with Sony/Columbia, and a catalogue that consists of over 500 songs archived ever since I started writing.
Since you arrived Nigeria, how would describe the attention you have gotten so far in the music scene?
The reception as far as the Nigerian music scene is concerned has been very fantastic. The people, press, producers, co-writers have been supportive. My record company, Flytime , ONE Management and my management, Naija Ninjas have been my rock and they all believe in what I can offer to the music lovers in this country. They have helped me and made my transition smooth.
Have you recorded any song since your return?
Yes, I have recorded two singles. They are Lovin Your Way and No Lele- they’ll soon be released into the market.
So, do you think you have what it takes to stand the competition here?
I have a chance as anyone out here. But I must remain focused to make great music and hope that it will be accepted and enjoyable to all.
What impression do you have about yourself?
I like to think of myself as a seasoned artiste and I feel it’s time for me to show the world the stuff I’m made of.
Do you feel intimidated by the array of artistes you meet?
I’ve never felt intimidated, I’m only inspired.
Are you parents in support of your musical pursuit?
They are hundred percent in support. In fact, my mother finally gave me her blessing the night before she passed away. That will stay with me for life!
What’s your plan for this year?
This year, I would like to release my singles, be heard and seen as no one else has done before now.
Have you ever felt like giving up you dreams?
I never feel like giving up because I go with what I feel. And if I ever felt like giving up, I would not be talking to you now. I’ve only just started!
Aside singing, what else can you do?
I’m not a great routine dancer but I can surely move and I love to dance.
If you had the chance to undo your past, what would that be?
I would not undo the past. But one thing I would change is the amount of time I spent with my mother. It was not a lot because I was always away doing music. I would have paid more attention to her advice .
In all, I would have learned how to play the Piano to a professional level and I would have waited till I was older to have my first boyfriend.