How does one person navigate social media stardom and a successful music career, but still manage to find time for humanitarian work? Well, in this interview, we had the privilege of sitting down with Shyla Day, a best-selling author, award-winning singer and songwriter, social media influencer, TEDx speaker, and humanitarian.
We wanted to get the inside scoop on Shyla’s experience in the music industry and how she juggles her successful career with humanitarian work, helping tons of amazing initiatives each year.
Meet The Influencer Using Social Media To Make A Difference: Shyla Day
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we get started, our readers would love to know what motivated you to pursue a career in music.
“Initially, passion brought me into music. My parents are musicians and I am so lucky to have grown up in such a creative, musical environment. After nurturing my love of music and performing here and there- I went on tour with a great non-profit called Tunes For Tots where we were able to raise 7 figures for so many causes that were so near and dear to my heart. Being a teen at the time, I realized the positive impact that musicians can have on the world! From there, it’s been a lifelong mission to do as much good as I humanly can through my skill set.”
When asked what advice she had for aspiring songwriters and musicians, Shyla said:
“Continue to write, and continue to play! Don’t let life get in the way. We see way too many talented, passionate people lose sight of the love that they once had for music – and if that is you right now, I encourage you to pick it back up! Music is a healthy way to cope with those moments when life gets hard. Especially for my fellow songwriter- think of it as a journal or diary entry! For my creatives looking to turn music into their career, I encourage them to continue to show up (every day!). Even ten minutes is better than nothing!”
Shyla’s music has caught the attention of many. This paved the way for her to receive a long list of award nominations, one of which included being the youngest nominee at the Los Angeles Music Awards for Female Singer-Songwriter of the Year.
What was it like to be the youngest nominee at the Los Angeles Music Awards for Female Singer-Songwriter of the Year?
“Being only 16 years old and nominated for such a prestigious award was definitely a moment of shock and gratefulness. It has also given me a very strong perspective in life, which has provided me the opportunity to see things in a new way, especially when it comes to my career – being recognized by my peers in an industry that is still so heavily male-dominated. Having experiences like that reminds me of how much bigger the real end goal is.
I want to show all the little girls in the world that music is a possibility for them too – and the fact that there was a category for women was a step in the right direction! I was ecstatic to be a part of that change.”
Shyla has changed the lives of millions through her global humanitarian work. She also gave a passionate speech “Music for Global Impact” on TEDx where she discussed unconventional methods for humanitarian action. Thanks to this speech and her other initiatives, Shyla has been awarded International Humanitarian of the Year, not once but twice.
How have you been able to use your platform to spread awareness about social issues?
“Great question! Most of my humanitarian work stems from a need or an experience that I’ve either had myself or have seen others struggle so much from. I’m so proud to have been able to support thousands of humanitarian initiatives over the 13 years that I have been working in this field! For example, one of my favorite projects was with Tomorrow’s Rainbow – which supports children through the loss of a parent; near and dear to my heart, having lost my Dad so young.
I am also a strong believer in education so I do a lot of fundraising for building new schools. I’ve supported several nonprofits that raise awareness and funds for chronic illnesses, clean water, body positivity, race equality, homelessness, and other very important social issues.
One of my biggest achievements was after an experience I had at my college – we had a visitor at our student government meeting and they shared their thoughts – he was very passionate about this subject and it eventually turned into a mental crisis for him. He began talking about all of the shootings and reaching into his backpack – and that’s when everyone in the room ran out like he was some kind of rabid animal.
We had called the police and he wasn’t a threat but it still definitely frightened all of us to the core. As a result, I created a “Safety Audit” bill for colleges in the state of California to open the conversation about exit strategies in case of an emergency, which wasn’t something that was being talked about before. That bill impacted upwards of 2.1 million students.”
What has been the most rewarding experience of your global humanitarian initiatives?
“Every single one of the humanitarian initiatives I’ve had the honor to be involved in has truly made such an impact on me as well, it’s very hard to narrow down these kinds of life-changing experiences by how rewarding they are because personally, that isn’t really what it’s about for me! What it is about though, are the lives on the other side that are forever improved because someone out there cared enough to help make that change happen.
One of the projects I’ve worked on that I think about often, is Destiny’s Orphanage which I was able to work with through Tunes For Tots, which I mentioned earlier. Because of that initiative, every single year there is a class of women who otherwise wouldn’t have had access to education, that has the opportunity to graduate. Every year, it’s a great reminder to keep going!
Another one of my favorite experiences was meeting Claes Nobel, a senior member of the Nobel Peace Prize Family. He had given me a medal for the Pursuit of Excellence. We were wearing the same exact one. That was a surreal moment!”
Claes Nobel, of the Nobel Prize Family, stated “Shyla…represents our very best hope for the future”.
What advice do you have for young people looking to get involved in humanitarian efforts?
“Firstly, if this is something that is on your mind I’d love to congratulate you on your decision to leave this world better than when you arrived. Secondly, I also know that it can seem like a very big task – and it can get overwhelming because sometimes it feels like you are (literally) carrying the world on your shoulders.
Make a list of 10 causes that you believe are fundamental to human life. The kinds of things that bring up feelings inside that you can’t hold back. Food, water, education, women’s rights, equity, race equality, anything that stands out to you. Your heart definitely knows where your energy is best spent when it comes to these kinds of decisions.
All we have to remember in those moments of overwhelm is that: small ripples make waves.”
Shyla is also the host of Influencers Impact, a show that highlights influencers making changes and creating a better world. Some of her guests include TikTokers, former Superbowl and NASCAR associates, and A-list celebrities from HBO and Netflix, among others.
How did you come up with the idea for Influencers’ Impact and what did you learn from hosting the show?
“In 2020, when the pandemic hit and live music came to a halt, I had to change my course of action and pivot into the online space. I really leaned into the world of TikTok, and it was received well in the online space!
However, offline when I told people what I had been doing it was met with reactions that weren’t always positive. There are several stereotypes that influencers face- that it’s not a real job, that we don’t contribute to society in a positive way; and that’s why I founded Influencers Impact.
I wanted to share all of the really beautiful things that my peers in the influencer space are doing, utilizing their voices and their platforms to cultivate a positive change in the world. These are the kinds of things that are coming from the heart, so it’s usually off-camera- and I wanted to give them a safe space to share what initiatives and projects they have been working on.”
What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?
“Goodness, there are so many incredible memories I could share!
Recently, hitting 100 million views on TikTok was a crazy experience. My mom had mentioned that you could fill the world’s largest stadium 1000+ times with that many people! It really puts things into perspective how many lives really can be touched in the online space, and also that the choice is yours whether or not it would be a positive one.
However, I would like to clarify that no matter how large or small you think your reach is on social media – it’s the same exact concept and just as important to think about. Each and every post you create is going to be seen by somebody, so make it a great experience for the person on the other side of the screen!”
What has been the most challenging aspect of managing a successful music career while also doing humanitarian work?
“Between my work in music, writing books, speaking engagements, social media, humanitarian initiatives, and more – this is a question I get quite often.
However, it came very naturally to me. I am a person with many interests, skills, and passions. This is called a multi-hyphenate! This concept is not new to us though, and might even sound familiar!
I truly believe that every human is a multi-passionate individual! Balancing my eclectic work life has always been a difficult concept for others to wrap their heads around, but it has always made the most sense to me. I’ve created a life where I’ve had the ability to merge my passions, my work, and my humanitarian efforts which makes it so much more manageable. Since I have the opportunity to do work that I truly love, it hardly really feels like work at all!”
What advice would you give to someone hoping to use their platform to make a positive difference in the world?
“My best advice for someone hoping to also use their platform to make a positive difference is to remember that all it takes is a conscious decision. Every time you hit post, think about how this piece of content you are sharing could encourage, uplift, and/or inspire someone.
Encourage other positive posters by interacting and sharing their posts. Connect with one another! Good energy is contagious and it spreads fast! Share important links and engage with accounts related to the causes that you care most about. There are so many ways you can make a difference using social media!”
What can we look forward to seeing from you in the future?
“Lots of new music and official music videos are on the way! Awesome collaborations on and off-camera are to be expected, and of course, a lot more doing good.
You can stay updated on my socials or at https://www.shyladay.com”