I was born in Bauchi State of northern Nigeria to the family of Engineer and Mrs Dieyi. I am the second of four children, first girl and I hail from Aniocha North Local Government Area, Delta State.
How was growing up like?
As expected there were good times and some very tough times. Nonetheless, I had the most important thing every growing child could have asked for, a strong immediate family support system. My teenage years were very intense; I went through the intricate processes of trying to find the truths about myself and I thank God for who I am today. I’m still not fully discovered, not even half way there but I’m well on my way.
When did you discover your love for music?
My favorite movie of all time is “Sound of Music”. I saw it for the first time when I was about two years old, so I guess that was where my love for music began. I got more into it in my childhood when I was about seven years old, wholeheartedly belting out TLC and Destiny Child tunes (laughs).
What kind of music do you do?
R&B/Soul music, with an unmistakable afro flavour.
What inspires you?
Music has always been a part of me but the desire to affect lives combined with the realisation that there is an audience for every form of true art inspired me to put my song out. What’s the use of a message if it can’t be heard?
Where do I start? For different reasons of course. India Arie, Asa, Lauryn Hill, Ed Sheeran, Ray Charles, Nneka, Adele, the late Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Beyonce, Within Temptation, The Script… the list goes on.
How did you start music?
I have always been a chorister, from children’s church to teenage church and now. I started writing music when I was about 15 but I recorded my first song in February of this year, it’s still unreleased. I recorded “One Day” in May and felt the immediate need to push it. Here we are.
How have you grown over the years?
In life generally, developing a strong sense of self is the best thing that can happen to anyone in my opinion. I thank God for giving me that. I don’t feel the need to join the proverbial rat race; I’m just doing me, living my life one day at a time. Some people go through life without ever living it in that unique way that was meant for them and them alone. It has taken a lot of mental, physical, and spiritual preparation to get here.
Travelling to the UK, and deciding to do music. How has your brand of music been accepted?
I was a member of an African band at Oxford, representing our continent and all. We went by the name “Izi Nca”. There was Nanjala Nyabola from Kenya, Sara Muller and Bonolo Mathibela both from South Africa and I from Nigeria. We got quite popular with the Oxford academic community.
Which stages have you performed on?
At church, at school; the American University of Nigeria, at concerts in Harris Manchester College, at a Rhodes recital… my performance repertoire is still quite narrow (laughs).
Tell me about your first performance.
Let me see… It was when I was about eight then at church. We had a children’s program and my parents were in the front, my younger brother was also on stage with me, because singing totally runs in the family. I guess it was one of those “those are our kids” proud moments for my parents.
Your best moment till date?
There has been a lot of good moments, I can’t particularly rate them.
Your worst moment till date?
I think my worse moment has to be when I got news of my maternal grandmother’s death. It was very unexpected and naturally I had regrets; maybe I could have done some things differently. The first song I recorded is actually in loving memory of my late grandmother. Writing it gave me some sort of closure and I’ll release it when the time is right. She was very dear to me.
Is music a business or passion?
Definitely and without a doubt, music is a passion. Generally, I’m in the creative industry and I feel blessed to have been gifted with different avenues to express my creativity.
What could you have done if not music?
As I mentioned, I’m in the creative industry in general and music is one avenue for expression; one that I am very passionate about. I cannot NOT do music, it’s not a choice; music is embedded in everything I do, I connect with it on an emotional level. To me, music is life. I bet I can find a song for every situation.
Where do you intend to take your craft in the next few years?
More singles, music videos, and an album, or albums, depending on how I’m led.
How do you intend to break into the Nigerian entertainment scene with the numerous talents which abound in Nigeria.
I believe that no matter how much talent is out there, there is an audience for everyone. And when you set your standard and stay true to yourself and your art, it may just be a matter of time but your audience will locate you. I’ll also borrow from Charles Darwin’s law of natural selection and translate that, frauds and counterfeits won’t last. Only the truth will endure.
What is unique about your music?
I have eclectic tastes and I’d like to believe that it reflects in my music. With my debut single for instance, I’m somewhere between Soul and R&B with the unmistakable African flavour. (Laughs) My lyrical content is also very unique
Tell me about the challenges you have faced over the years?
I could and might just write a whole book on that.
What other projects are you involved in?
Well, I’m serving at the moment and I’ll be rounding up next month; I’m always working on song ideas, developing them. I’m at the planning stages of a five-part short documentary series I want to produce. I’m also scripting a short movie I want to work on after service, while compiling my application for grad school next year.
Haha! My fashion sense is as eclectic as my music taste, maybe even more so. I could go corporate chic today; wear 6 inch pumps comfortably with a blazer and skinny jeans, and then go edgy casual tomorrow; comfortable jeans, t-shirt and gladiator sandals. It depends on my mood. But if we must label it I’ll say “Edgy Chic” is my fashion sense.
If they make good shoes, I love them.
Shoes are my favourite shopping item. For accessories I love wrist ornaments, bracelets.
Last words to your fans?
I’m glad you’re enjoying my music. I love to get feedback from you so please don’t hesitate to tweet @CY_Dieyi. You can expect a lot more from me in the near future, there’s no going back. God bless you for your support, I appreciate. Peace!