We fell in love with Seyi after watching a video of her doing what she does best. We followed up on her activities and realized she’s been doing this for some time now and that she really has a lot to offer. She’s one of the very few keyboardists in the U.K to be endorsed by Roland. Our weekend was spent with her as we got to know the ins and outs of this amazing woman. We do certainly believe that after reading this, you’d also become a fan.
Tell us who Seyi Ogunnaike is.
I, Seyi Ogunnaike, am a 23 year old British-Born Nigerian from Kent. (a city just outside of London) I am generally very reserved and quiet because I dedicate most of my time to my work. I’m veryyyy passionate about what I do.
I am a Musician/Instrumentalist and also a Graphic Designer.
How long have you been doing this? (The Music)
I’ve been at this for 12 years.
I began to understand music at 11 when I was in primary school.
As I progressed into secondary school (age 11-16), I was part of my school steel band. My school was based in Camberwell, South London and was very multicultural which is why we had such facilities. Being part of the band gave me my first experiences of what it takes to be a performer.
At age 16 was when I took music more seriously. I became the keyboardist at my church – that’s where my musical ability developed the most.
Music became EXTRA serious last year when I performed with Mr Eazi in March 2016 & again for his debut show in London in July 2016.
How was the whole experience performing with Mr. Eazi and how did you guys meet?
Oh it was fun & very spontaneous. We met on twitter after I posted a 20sec clip of me playing my synths over ‘skin tight’
— Seyi Ogunnaike (@SeyiOgunnaike_) January 5, 2016
So he saw that, and he sent me a DM asking me to play when he comes to the U.K. (His first time)
So he eventually came in March and we performed that live together at a Ghanaian independence event in Leicester
Since then, we’ve been keeping in contact which led to me playing at his “LIFE IS EAZI” concert in July as part of the band.
6 Months Later…
— Seyi Ogunnaike (@SeyiOgunnaike_) July 24, 2016
I didn’t know who he was before I made that video. So his kindness to get me to play really made me respect him and take a genuine interest in him.
We got to know you thanks to a viral video we happened to catch on twitter. After following you, we noticed how active you are on there. How do you think artists can use social media to their advantage ?
Well, first of all, I need to admit that social media is VERY important in the times we’re currently in! Especially for artists because it gives us the chance to promote our work for FREE to audiences all across the globe.
I mean, the fact that I was able to perform with Mr Eazi last year didn’t come by magic, twitter had a huge part to play in it and I’m very grateful for that.
Since last year’s events, I’ve gradually become more active on social media by posting more videos of myself playing keys & I can say it has paid off. I’ve gained more attention to my work, I’ve been able to connect with people all over the world & now I’m doing my very first interview with you guys – it’s such an amazing tool 😊
So my advice to anyone who has a story to tell or a talent to share is that they should 100% be active on social media because you never know who’s watching.
When did you develop your interest in Graphic Design and could we see some of your works?
I have always been into drawing from a young age, but I decided to take it a step further by studying it at Uni. I studied Graphic Design & E-Media at De Montfort University, Leicester.
See more [here]
Who or what genres did you listen to whiles growing up and what are you currently listening to?
I grew up on mainly gospel, African music (now Afrobeats lol) R&B & Pop but I also listened to a lot of classical music too which still plays a huge influence in the way I play.
I’m currently listening to R&B/Pop music from the late 90’s-early 2000’s.
I love that particular era because to me – the songs back then were generally more musical. Things like key changes/bridges/chords sequences and lyrics had more substance, meaning and emotion. So that’s why I find myself going back in time to relive those sounds.
In terms of Graphic Design and Music, what do you think makes Seyi stand out ?
100% the music!!!
Because people always seem to be intrigued when they see me, a young black female playing the keys which is rare. So it naturally makes me stand out.
What keeps you going when you ever feel like giving up ?
I think it’s the fact that I’ve been doing this for so long.
When I feel demotivated or feel like maybe I should slow down, I always think of how I started.
I think of when I would stay up for hours practicing when I could have been playing out with my friends, I think of the times I had cried – especially during my time at church because I couldn’t play the songs well enough (I can now though lol). I just think of the years that I spent nurturing my craft & that instantly reminds me that I am worth it, so I just carry on from there.
How do you think art can be used to solve a pertinent issue in society ?
Wow, this is an important question & one I’ve been waiting to answer!
Firstly, I believe art can be very influential in solving some of the problems we have in the world. I just feel that the artist must have a deep passion for whatever problem that they’re trying to solve.
For me, I have a great interest in women and how they’re perceived in society. In particular women in music – and more directly women who are musicians/instrumentalists like myself or women who have an interest in becoming musicians/instrumentalists.
I personally know how it feels to be doubted just because I am a woman. Often times when I’m at bookings/gigs, people automatically assume that I am a singer. Now no offense to my singers out there, you guys are great and SO important – but as a musician/instrumentalist, I didn’t like the way the stereotype was automatically placed on me & I also wasn’t a fan of the way some people (men) would act towards me after they realize how good I ‘actually’ was on the keys.
To most, this may not feel like a big deal, but it actually is! Why? Because It’s those moments of injustice and doubt that could potentially discourage women in perusing their musical career. Like – Just imagine if I had allowed people’s doubt to discourage me?
Representation is important and I understand that, So I use my art to break down the stereotype & narrative people have of women. I do this by displaying musical excellence wether that be on social media or in real life. And I know that it’s working because I often get messages from girls thanking me for being a source of inspiration to them which is absolutely heart warming. I couldn’t ask for anything more 💗
Where do you see Seyi Ogunnaike in the next 5 years?
In 5 years time, I see myself being one of the most influential women in music.
I see myself traveling the world – not only for performances, but I’d be traveling because I’ve been invited to speak at conferences, schools and universities about my journey & how I became successful in my career. I also see myself married and enjoying life with my husband
These are just a few of the many things I see myself doing. But one thing I’m certain of is that I will be doing very well for myself.