There is no such thing as a ‘perfect woman’, but it’s up to you to grow into a person that you value. I think perfection is measured by other people’s standards, and becoming a person that you value, is a lot more meaningful and personal.
As a part of our series about Stars Making a Social Impact, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Shyla Day.
Shyla Day is an award-winning singer/songwriter, bestselling author, TEDx speaker, and international humanitarian. Her brand as a ‘music activist’ has impacted millions, her music is distributed in 189 countries, and her book sold in the largest retailers of the world. Shyla continues to be a role model to young people through her passionate, mission-driven career, recognized by none other than Claes Nobel of the Nobel Prize Family stating, “Shyla…represents our very best hope for the future”.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! It is a great honor. Our readers would love to learn more about your personal background. Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
Iwas born and raised in sunny San Diego, California by my Mom after my Dad lost his battle with bone cancer. Mom worked 2 jobs, and while we didn’t have much, she would remind me that others had it worse. So I made it my mission to work hard, and use my voice for the causes I believed in every day! Being in music programs in school, I ended up in a performing arts high school called SCPA. Throughout high school, I had the opportunity to tour with a non-profit called Tunes for Tots, which ended up impacting many lives. It inspired me to continue this initiative of doing good for the rest of my life, and it also opened my eyes to how each of us can make such a big difference, and how quickly a small effort can reach the other side of the world.
What or who inspired you to pursue your career? Can you share the story with us?
Iplay music from raw passion and love. My guitar makes me feel closer to my Father! My parents were in a touring band together while pregnant with me! I was 1 when we lost Dad to bone cancer. One day, I was so drawn to his guitar that I just picked it up and never put it down. I fell in love with music right away! I truly adore music and I’m lucky to have found a way to weave it into my larger goal and initiative of creating positive global change. Had I not experienced music, I could easily say I wouldn’t be able to spread this initiative today. Music harnesses that same life-changing power for every single human being, with no discrimination. If I had to choose one person that inspires me, it would be Ellen and how she uses her unconventional platform as a TV host to make a measurable, positive impact on the world in her own unique way!
Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?
Many years ago, I was set to attend a high profile “red carpet” event where Stevie Wonder was set to perform. After having hours of professional fashion, hair, and makeup, my Mother and I trekked on a long drive to arrive at the venue where we find out there was a bomb threat! Everyone was escorted off of the property, the event was canceled. Thankfully everyone was kept safe! However, we were left all dressed up and glam for an upscale evening out, but now with nothing to do. I turned lemons into lemonade by calling a photographer last minute, and we were shooting until nearly 4 a.m. that night! Those photos ended up being the set that laid the groundwork for my brand, and that set of photos are the ones the public remembers the most. Little do they know the insane story behind it! What I learned from that experience, is to find the silver lining. Its a whole different story, but a few years later I ended up having the opportunity to see Stevie live and I ended up on TV with him. No such thing as coincidences!
In my work, I focus on how one can thrive in three areas, body, mind, and heart. I’d like to flesh this out with you. You are a very busy leader with a demanding schedule. Can you share with our readers any self care routines, practices or treatments that you do to help your body, mind or heart to thrive? Kindly share a story or an example for each.
With a schedule like mine, it’s hard not to hold a lot of stress in my body. I have ‘beauty nights’ to revitalize and recharge. I’ll run a very hot bath, with a lavender bomb, bubbles, incense, candles, my Himalayan salt lamp, and I’ll simply pamper myself. Spending some time relaxing with my eyes closed, doing some meditation, and visualizations, clear my mind. I find that toes in the sand, listening to the waves here in California is also one of my favorite places to relax my soul. As far as my heart, the first thing I think about is passion, having a mission, and doing what fulfills you. As long as we always speak with kindness, and work with integrity we will always have a meaningful life and a full heart.
Ok super. Let’s now move to the main part of our discussion. How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting causes you are working on right now?
Through music, I’ve been honored to support thousands of causes. Examples of some of my supported initiatives include funding a dormitory for girls in Uganda, encouraging youth from all over the world to stand up to social issues that are important to them, clean water, hunger, women’s empowerment, education, anti-bullying, cancer research and awareness, and many more. Last year, I did a TEDx talk called “Music for Global Impact”, just to spread the message further that music changes lives! This year, I will be co-authoring “1 Habit for World Changers”. It’s a collection of life-changing habits, directly from the happiest achievers on the planet, that give back. You will find stories from people just like you and me, that have committed their lives to make a significant and positive change to their immediate communities, and in the lives of people everywhere.
Can you share with us the story behind why you chose to take up this particular cause?
Mycause is simply fighting for what I believe in. Like anything in life, passions can be dynamic, so I try not to put all of them in one basket. Overall, I’d like to inspire others to do good with their platforms, businesses, and talents. I believe everybody has the opportunity to leave this earth a better place! We each have gifts, skills, and means that can be used for good.
Can you share with us a story about a person who was impacted by your cause?
Fighting for what you believe in can be as simple as attending a local fundraising event! A band I knew through music, was releasing a new song locally and had a video release, where profits went to multiple anti-bully organizations. I was happy to go and support! The touching video was based on a true story, about a young boy named Colin who experienced adversity from his peers, but in the end, he found that he had many friends. Colin did attend the event, and walked the red carpet where I was honored to meet him! It is a group effort, seeing the sheer joy in his eyes that there were so many people gathered together that also shared his passion made an impact in his life. Experiencing all the love in that room firsthand, was a really beautiful thing!
What are your 5 things I wish someone told me when I first started and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1. Every step you take will add up to something big one day. Planted seeds grow into, beautiful trees that bear fruit! When you plant a seed, and you feed and water it, you know in time it will be big, strong, and fruitful. Don’t be discouraged when you don’t see immediate change. Small steps, creating the big picture.
2. There is no such thing as a ‘perfect woman’, but it’s up to you to grow into a person that you value. I think perfection is measured by other people’s standards, and becoming a person that you value, is a lot more meaningful and personal.
3. Sticking with your natural ambitions and passions is the only way to guarantee you’ll live a fulfilled life. Fill up your heart with what you believe in.
4. Listening to advice does not always mean you have to take it. It’s good to listen to the opinions of others, who view things differently, and you’ll have the choice to take it or not. In the end, you’ll learn whether the advice should have been taken, when you do what you were going to do anyway. You aren’t always right, but neither is everyone else. It’s okay to learn things the hard way.
5. Say “no” if something isn’t aligned with your bigger vision. More often than not, you can turn a good opportunity into a fantastic one!
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Ihave been thinking about the ‘lost pillars of generosity’ because making a difference doesn’t always have to mean cold hard cash. It can be a warm smile or a conversation that makes people think. There is always an unconventional way that you can be kind and positive. So get creative and begin! Find one new way, every day to spread kindness and light. It’s proven that generosity will make you a happier person too!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
William Sprague said, “Do not wait till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking”. I never expected anything to fall into my lap. I am known for taking action, and I think this quote is a great representation of how I feel. It’s important to take initiative and to take the bull by the horns. I think that many people feel limited in life because we are scared to ask for what we want. So apply, be bold, ask questions and make that iron hot by striking.
What are the best ways our readers can follow you online?
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!
Bymaking this information accessible to the public on large platforms, we give music, journalism, and other efforts their deserving, fighting chance to create positive change. Thank you for having me and for continuing to publish meaningful content!