Use your social media platform to talk about things that are important to you. It’s like you have a free megaphone directly to the ears of the world in your pocket, all the time!
As part of our series about young people who are making an important social impact, I had the pleasure of interviewing Shyla Day.
Shyla Day is an award-winning singer/songwriter, TEDx Speaker, best-selling author, social media influencer, and international humanitarian, who has more accolades than she is years old. Her personal brand has garnered over 27 global award nominations in the fields of music, humanitarianism, and entrepreneurship, as well as the All-American Small Business Championship. She achieved distribution in 189 countries, in the largest retailers, libraries, and airports around the world, and has made an impact on millions through thousands of charitable organizations globally. Shyla led a passionate talk on the TEDx platform with over 26 million subscribers, called “Music for Global Impact”, where she sparks conversation on unconventional humanitarian efforts — as a result, she was honored as “International Humanitarian of the Year” at the prestigious Fire Awards, and honored by the “She Inspires Me Awards” in 2020 for her work during COVID-19. She received a Global Humanitarian Award Nomination by “All Women Rock” in 2021. Examples of other supported causes and initiatives include funding a dormitory for girls in Uganda, clean water, encouraging youth from all over the world to stand up to social issues that are important to them, body positivity, education, a safety audit that protected over 2.1 million students in the state of California, and much more! Claes Nobel, of the Nobel Prize Family, stated “Shyla…represents our very best hope for the future”. After four fan-choice nominations, over 1 million followers across platforms, and a multitude of sold-out shows, radio, television, media features as well as a good heart, Shyla Day is one to watch!
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us about how you grew up?
I was born in the heart of San Diego, CA. My dad passed when I was one, so it was mostly my mom, my big sister and I. When mom worked — my sister and I would go to a Brazilian daycare, where I learned how to speak my first language Portuguese. Going into school was a challenge being an English as a second language student. We moved around a lot, and I have social anxiety which made me pretty misunderstood in school. My mom got me my first guitar one Christmas, and I eventually turned to music. I auditioned for a performing arts high school, and when I got in, I began performing outside of school. I remember one time, posting a ton of green paper fliers all over campus! My music performing career began as a fun outlet and it grew into something much bigger and more impactful than I ever imagined!
Is there a particular book or organization that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
I used to do work with an organization called “Tunes for Tots”. We would tour nationally in the United States and support numerous charities and causes, for example the “Make A Wish Foundation”, “Boys and Girls Club”, “Destinys Orphanage”, and “Tomorrows Rainbow” which helps children who lose a parent early in their life. I was 14–16 when I was performing with TFT, so raising multiple six figures for people in need, just singing? Was very eye opening to say the least — and it continues to make a huge difference in how I use my music until this day. It taught me so many lessons along the way, too.
You are currently leading an organization that is helping to make a positive social impact. Can you tell us a little about what you and your organization are trying to create in our world today?
I have started a new platform called “Influencers Impact” to share with the world the positive impact we can each make using our unique skillsets and platforms. For the first season, we’ve booked some influencers with millions of followers, as well as a Super Bowl and NASCAR alumni, all who are making a huge difference using their specific platforms. The mission is to not only break the “reckless influencer” stigma mostly connected with my main platform, TikTok — but to also show the world that they can use their social medias and specific skill sets to make a positive difference in the causes they believe in as well!
Can you tell us the backstory about what originally inspired you to feel passionate about this cause and to do something about it?
I have been a music artist and performer in the public eye since I was 14 years old. When the Coronavirus hit, there weren’t many live shows, or opportunities to book in-person appearances, events, or red carpets of any kind so I was pretty much forced to find another way to make an impact. Before COVID-19, I was able to go physically volunteer with organizations and perform which was so fulfilling but when in person events stopped, I felt the world needed change makers more than ever. We are in a global pandemic, after all! I downloaded TikTok to pass the time in lockdown and in just under 7 months I ended up building a great community of almost 1 million amazing humans on my TikTok. It wasn’t until I became a TikTok influencer that I noticed that people really believe in this reckless, disconnected influencer stereotype, and the medias support of this mockup character that they paint around that narrative. I want to help change that.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?
One thing I’ve found particularly interesting is how truly small the world of humanitarianism is. I am not saying that there isn’t millions of people collaborating on positively moving forward and fighting for causes they believe in every single day. Because, fortunately there is! What I am saying, however, that as a HUGE community of people, the humanitarian community is so willing to serve and help because they have passion and resources to share from serving the community their unique way. My mind is blown every day by the difference that these change makers make!
Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?
In 2019, while I was in college, I was very involved on campus. You would find me on the executive board of the Student Government, and I was a part of the Student Senate for the state of CA. One very normal day, we were having a student government meeting and a guest presenter came in who began yelling and screaming, started reaching into his bag and actually scared all of us terribly! I’m not ready to share the full details publicly but after a disorganized and unsafe running out of the room, we called the campus police and they were able to get it sorted out. Health Services came and went, to make sure we were all mentally sane after such a scary experience, but it just wasn’t over for me yet. I made it a point before I graduated to create a bill for every campus under our district in CA to have an Emergency Safety Audit — that ended up impacting 2.1 million college students in California.
How do you define “Making A Difference”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
Making a difference begins with small and simple steps. Making a big difference is just an accumulation of all of your small and simple steps kind of like each instrument in a symphony. It can be a smile to a stranger, a compliment, or a random act of kindness. Making a difference is standing up for what you believe in and doing what you think is right! Making a difference is showing up for what and who you love, taking aligned and inspired action every day. We each make a difference every day and it’s up to us whether that difference is good or bad. I choose to spread the good kind!
Many young people would not know what steps to take to start to create the change they want to see. But you did. What are some of the steps you took to get your project started? Can you share the top 5 things you need to know to become a change maker? Please tell us a story or example for each.
- Find what you are good at, and offer your skill to charities and causes you believe in. Do not limit yourself!
- Get involved in some good old protesting. There is nothing wrong with a grassroots, grounded approach in becoming a change maker! We see time and time again how much of a difference this can make especially in numbers. Bring your friends!
- Speaking of friends, join a group of likeminded people on the same mission as you! Again, there is POWER in numbers. Changing the world for the better is going to have to be a cause we all work towards together!
- Use your social media platform to talk about things that are important to you. It’s like you have a free megaphone directly to the ears of the world in your pocket, all the time!
- You will face adversity. People won’t like that you move differently then others and that’s ok — as long as you know you are doing what is right.
- In the light of the current pandemic I had to add this extra one in because it’s so important. Altruism is sometimes doing what’s better for everyone as a whole, even if it means that it might not be in your best interest in the moment.
What are the values that drive your work?
I find that my brand and life just does better when I am doing work that serves. In my specific line of work, being in the public eye, as a pop singer and social media influencer sometimes the nature of my what can seem like a glamorous lifestyle, focuses so much on image, followers, likes, cancel culture, and unachievable standards in beauty and other pressures. The traditional media focuses so much on those things, when people in similar positions to mine often do so much good, too! I personally feel more fulfilled and happy, and my world has been much brighter since I began this lifestyle when I toured first with “Tunes for Tots” when I was 14. I hope to inspire others to live their lives unapologetically doing the same. Once you give back you never go back!
Many people struggle to find what their purpose is and how to stay true to what they believe in. What are some tools or daily practices that have helped you to stay grounded and centered in who you are, your purpose, and focused on achieving your vision?
In the mornings I practice affirmations, journaling, and EFT in the sun. I review my goals and each of my current projects every day. I have a separate list for long-term goals that I review quarterly. I eat well, take my vitamins and I am very adamant about self care. I pray. I also drink as much water as I can, because in order for me to make the biggest impact I can, I have to perform at my absolute best on both a physical and mental level. I take long drives with the windows down and music loud! I love lavender essential oils, and Himalayan salt baths. I do a lot of self reflection to remind myself how far I’ve come and how much farther I’ll go! I celebrate my wins and only surround myself with people who are happy for me when I win, but also those who are there for me in losing seasons. All of this helps me stay grounded and focused, and when the bigger picture starts to get overwhelming, I break it down into bite-sized steps. I have a very busy life so I try to minimize the time I spend on every day activities so I can stay focused; for example I have my clothes organized by color, because it helps with decision making and I’m a fan of getting my groceries delivered. I have tons of calendars and “to do” lists both digitally and handwritten!
In my work, I aim to challenge us all right now to take back our human story and co-create a vision for a world that works for all. I believe youth should have agency over their own future. Can you please share your vision for a world you want to see? I’d love to have you describe what it looks like and feels like. As you know, the more we can imagine it, the better we can manifest it!
This is such an insightful question! I see a world where we all lean into what we are most passionate about, with no limitation. By doing so, like yin and yang the world will naturally flow in the way it is supposed to, covering every need in our human lives, our animals lives, and the lives of the Earths flora, mountains, and flows. Perfect homeostasis for the good of all that are living! I hope you can see it, too.
We are powerful co-creators and our minds and intentions create our reality. If you had limitless resources at your disposal, what specific steps would take to bring your vision to fruition?
All children would be in exploratory school ASAP to naturally find what they love — to then go the rest of their adult life following their true, aligned passion in life! Over time, society will begin seeing this model as the norm and as a result, there won’t be any holes in our needs here on Earth — because there are enough passionate servers to fill them all.
I see a world driven by the power of love, not fear. Where human beings treat each other with humanity. Where compassion, kindness and generosity of spirit are characteristics we teach in schools and strive to embody in all we do. What changes would you like to see in the educational system? Can you explain or give an example?
Im so glad you see it too! If children were given unlimited resources not just materialistically but also morally in the forms of support, guidance and direction, I think we would see a completely different outcome. Ideally one without war, famish, and hate. I’d like to see a world where we strive in unity and diversity, in embracing one anothers differences and utilizing our strengths and weaknesses to play OFF of each other and not AGAINST each other.
If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?
Consider this: What if I told you, you could cure Cancer? Wouldn’t you at least try? A lot of people aren’t shown that the sky is really the limit. So, If you weren’t told, how would you know? You’d probably never find out that you had that immense of a potential. That is just such a disservice to the world! Use what you are good at — and If you were looking for permission, here it is! You can achieve anything!
Our young people have the MOST power to make a difference. People don’t just listen to the President, the Queen, superstars or influencers. They listen to YOUTH. Our youth are the our future, and they are the reason I know that we’re going to have amazing breakthroughs that solve global issues, illnesses, and the world will continue to see positive change.
Is there a person in the world with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
I would love to one day meet Will Smiths family on Red Table Talk. I am just so inspired by that families continued humanitarian work all over the world. I would love to meet Ashley Graham, someone who helped me become more comfortable as a plus-sized runway and print model. I’d love to meet Rihanna, who inspires me as both a musician and entrepreneur.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
My official website is www.ShylaDay.com, and my Instagram and Twitter handles are both @Shyla_Day. Send me a little blurb! I do my best to reply to all of my Direct Messages, Mentions, and Comments!
This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!
Thank you so much for having me, and allowing change makers to tell their stories and inspire others on their journey. We will talk again soon!