I have known this talented phenom since we were both teenagers. Coached in church and musical theater (performances which include The Wiz, and Little Shop of Horrors, among others) Inaya -- pronounced In-EYE-ah -- attended New York’s famed Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Performing Arts, and studied at the University of Bridgeport. Not only does this member of the Actor's Equity Association have numerous UK, Aria, and Billboard top ten hits to her credit, she also has her own record label and a trio of tunes currently sweeping Europe. A virtual lyricist and one of the most frequently heard voices on dance floors the world over, this ingénue does it all, from performing gospel, musical theater, jazz, and hip-hop with the likes of Queen Latifah, Missy Elliot, and Sean P-Diddy Combs. Having written for music industry giants like Bootsy Collins, her songs are readily available on iTunes and other MP3 sites. Having said those things, let’s have a conversation with this petite dynamo that recently performed in Sydney Australia.
April: How did you get started in the music business and how long have you been in it?
Inaya: I started singing professionally at the age of 11/12 when I starred in my first musical. Music has been my only job ever since.
April: Will you name for us some of the artists who have influenced you?
Inaya: I'm influenced most by Ella Fitzgerald, Chaka Khan, Karen Clark-Sheard, and Jocelyn Brown. I learned so much by simply listening to their techniques and absorbing them.
April: Nowadays, Who do you listen to?
Inaya: I listen to Ledisi, Earth Wind & Fire, Chaka Khan and Mint Condition the most while driving. :)
April: Love them all; is there a spiritual aspect to what you do?
Inaya: For sure! The first place I ever sang in public was in church. It's my base and my foundation. I started out singing to the Glory of God and never stopped. No matter the lyric or genre, the spirit of God is still felt and shines through. In all that I do, GOD is FIRST.
April: How do you prepare for a show?
Inaya: I drink room temperature water and I pray.
April: Inaya, what do you love about what you do?
Inaya: Everything. There is no better job than one where you’re doing something you love. I love the energy from the audience; I am blessed by the people that are touched by my gift. I get paid, I travel the world, and I have fun doing it --Can't ask for more than that.
April: How has becoming an artist aided you to make a difference in the lives of others?
Inaya: Music touches people. I'm told by many that certain songs have changed and/or saved lives. I also teach/show other artists how to be self-contained and to re-invest in themselves. Give a fish, one eats today. Teach one to fish, one eats forever.
April: Name some ways in which you’re different from songwriter/recording artists, others who do things similar to what you do. And tell us about being famous in other parts of the world, what is that like?
Inaya: We're all the same except for the choices we make and the graces we're afforded.
In Australia, I'm more visibly noticed than in Europe and America. Sometimes I get annoyed when people stare at me in restaurants only to be asked for a photo and/or autograph. So I must remember, one never knows who's watching. :)
April: What would you like people to take away from your offerings? What advice would you give someone interested in also becoming a recording artist?
Inaya: You must love this business to stay in it. There are thousands aiming for the same musical target. Make sure you hone your craft so that your shot is most accurate and hits its mark.
April: How can people reach or follow you?
Inaya: I can be reached easily via facebook at www dot facebook dot com slash InayaDayOfficial, and I’m on twitter.
Readers, friends and family, I thank the incomparable Inaya Day for joining us. For more on her please visit the Ethnic Beauty Forum.
I look forward to bringing you another Ethnic Beauty soon, as well as their contribution to the world. Until then, be blessed.