Spotlighting: Oya Thomas
For this month of November 2017; our ‘Interview Spotlight’ is shining on Oya Thomas who I had the opportunity of interviewing for our magazine.
Who Is Oya Thomas: An incredibly gifted and multi-faceted professional is Oya Thomas. She is a woman who lives her life with positive purpose and she’s embarked on a journey to promote positivity as she presents her wonderfully fulfilling gifts to the world as a singer, actress, life coach, and mentor. By combining her extensive spiritual and therapeutic training and her extremely multi-faceted artistic background, Oya spreads her light and her love through her one-on-one coaching, through her empowering crowd speaking engagements, through her written works, as well as through her music and her awesome on-stage performances.
Here is my ‘Spotlight Interview’ with Oya Thomas
Trainer Z: Before we venture into the life and times of Oya ‘the person’ and Oya ‘the multi-faceted professional’; are there any events and/or projects you have coming up that we should be on the lookout for?
- Oya Thomas: We are working on my new music project now. I am really excited about that, so stay tuned. Right now you can check out my “Spirit of Oya” CD, my authored book, and my audiobook “The 5 Star Points For Success” and of course “The Oya Show”. We have completed season one of the show and we’re getting ready for 2018. You can search for “The Oya Show” on youtube to get those positive messages to keep you going. Excited to share what is coming!
Trainer Z: What are some personal accomplishments you are most proud of?
- Oya Thomas: I am most proud of making my mother proud. For her to really see me do exactly what I told her that I would do with my life. It was hard for her to understand what I wanted to do, so for her to be able to watch her baby on TV, hear me on the radio, see my accomplishments is a big deal for me. When people come up to her and acknowledge that they read my book, heard me on the radio or saw me live doing a show confirms that I am living my dream and purpose. My mom did a wonderful job raising me, doing the best that she could with such a crazy and creative child. I know I really worked my parent’s nerves, I know I was a lot to handle but my mom can now see it was all worth it. All those big dreams have come true and still manifesting on a larger scale.
Trainer Z: What’s the best personal advice given to you, and by whom?
- Oya Thomas: My grandmother told me that when you get old that all you have is memories. So I spend my days creating powerful and exciting moments that I can remember for a lifetime. I focus on what is good and wonderful and do not waste time with unnecessary things that will not make a difference to me years from now. If I focus on what will matter years from now to me while still being in the present, I find myself focused on indeed what is most important.
Trainer Z: Our magazine is all about POSITIVITY. I notice on Twitter and Instagram that you routinely post positive and uplifting content. What compels you to do so?
- Oya Thomas: The world has a lot of negative and I know that a mindset shift can literally change your life. It is important for me to spread light and love. Positivity is just as contagious as negativity so I choose positive. I find when one person shifts it is only natural for them to spread this same light, love, and positivity to others around them. It is a beautiful domino effect. If I can touch one person then I know that they can touch at least one person and it just keeps going.
Trainer Z: What positive message could you share with someone who’s struggling with low self-esteem, or social acceptance?
- Oya Thomas: That life is a gift. It does not always feel that way sometimes but it is. That you are unique and special just the way you are. The most extraordinary people in the world do not fit in. Once you really connect with your soul and recognize who you are and why you are here, your life will shift into something so beautiful that you could never have imagined if you allow yourself to stay in the darkness and in judgment. Work on loving yourself and accepting who you are so that you can live fully and enjoy this life. I did not fit in when I was little and heck, I really don’t fit in many circles now. I AM who I am and I love me just the way I am. It took me awhile to really feel that way and really be ok with standing out and singing brightly. I am so glad that I do that now. If I would have listened to others I would not be where I am today! Don’t listen to the naysayers and the negative thoughts in your mind. Clear them out to connect to the truth. Connect to your authentic self.
Trainer Z: What are some professional accomplishments you are most proud of?
- Oya Thomas: Sharing my voice authentically. Sharing my talent. The sharing of it. I could have been afraid and not shared but I share. I could talk about awards and acknowledgments which I do appreciate but just the fact that I am sharing with the WORLD is so amazing. The fact that people have been affected by my works in a positive way in countries that I have never been to. To receive a letter or message that I helped someone get out of their darkness or depression so that they could see the light and stand in their own light is so profound, it’s just so beautiful and I don’t take that lightly. I am so honored and joyful.
Trainer Z: What’s the best professional advice given to you, and by whom?
- Oya Thomas: So many great things but one that stands out right now is when Quincy Jones told me to “be the best at what you do.” We had a full on conversation about what I am doing. There was so much that he said and how to get to that by really knowing your life and career path and knowing everything about it but those simple words coming from one of the greatest just makes so much sense. It is so simple but it says everything. If you are going to do something yet be the best! Know everything about what you are doing, practice, learn, study, take time to do what you need to do and do it!
Trainer Z: What first attracted you to begin your career as a singer?
- Oya Thomas: It was a natural thing. I was born in a house with singers. We grew up in church, singing and creating music. It was the normal and natural thing to do. I just wanted to take it to the next level outside of church so that is what I did.
Trainer Z: When, where, and what was the first song you remember singing before a crowd?
- Oya Thomas: Oh wow; songs with my Father. “This Little Light Of Mine”, “Let My Light Shine For Jesus”, Lord I Been Changed” which is one of my favorites that I am asked to sing almost everywhere I go – still sing that song today. I love that song.
Trainer Z: What song or album have you recorded and released that you feel is your signature song or album, and why?
- Oya Thomas: Wow, so many of my songs on “SPIRIT OF OYA” are all signature pieces really that go with my whole philosophy of life and living, they go with my book and they all tell a story depending on what I am talking about. Hmmmm Well, one song that everyone expects me to sing is “LOVE” which was my first release and “The Answer”, also “Accentuate The Positive” which I sing everywhere with my book as well or “Peace In The Valley” that got a lot of radio play but I have to say one of the biggest songs that I am super expected to sing and most requested is “A Change Is Gonna Come” – That was my father’s favorite song and that is why I did it. The CD is dedicated to him and it means so much to so many people. I sing that song all the time!
Trainer Z: Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
- Oya Thomas: My Father first, then my older brother who really promoted my creativity in writing as he is a songwriter. When it comes to my musical mentors in music that I looked up to, I would have to say amazing artists that could get you to boogie but had a conscious message and or a phenomenal powerful moving voice. Artists like Bob Marley, Whitney Houston, Mahalia, Stevie Wonder, Etta James, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Aretha, Chaka, Michael Jackson, and my all-time favorite is Prince.
Trainer Z: What are your Top 5 favorite songs?
- Oya Thomas: Well I am way past 5 in my min with the love of pretty much the Prince catalog; LOL, like “Do Me Baby”, “International Lover”, “DMSR” all those greats from 1999 alone and I can go on to his other projects. Wait; “Insatiable”; ok let me stop on Prince, then on my old school songs – such an old-school music lover “A Change Is Gonna Come” of course “At Last” by Etta that is a flawless love song piece. For Gospel, “How I got over” by Mahalia, everything Bob Marley did. It goes on and on because I have so many other adult contemporary pieces I love, and rock and jazz blues… We will be here all day; LOL..
Trainer Z: Who are your Top 5 male recording artists?
- Oya Thomas: Bob Marley, Sam Cooke, Al Green, Stevie; Gosh just one more, I think of Donny, MJ; ah man but Marvin, Teddy P, Frank Sinatra.
Trainer Z: Who are your Top 5 female recording artists?
- Oya Thomas: Whitney, Chaka, Aretha, Mahalia, Patti, Minnie Riperton. Oh you know I want to go on. LOL.
Trainer Z: Who are some notable singers or musicians you have performed with on stage?
- Oya Thomas: Most recently, David Foster. That was amazing! Duets with Keith Washington. Opening up for wonderful artists like Eric Benet, Brian McKnight and Kymani Marley have all been wonderful to name a few.
Trainer Z: What has been the most challenging aspect of being a singer?
- Oya Thomas: Rest. I am serious about my rest and make sure that I get as much of it as possible however sometimes with busy schedules and being on planes and traveling it can be a challenge. Singers need to rest their voice so I have to find that time to make sure that I get as much rest as possible to move on with the next recording and performance. Our instrument is a part of our body so we have to really take care of our instrument as a singer.
Trainer Z: What musical instruments do you play?
- Oya Thomas: Outside of being a vocalist My first instrument that I learned to play was the saxophone and then I moved on to the piano and the guitar.
Trainer Z: What hidden talents do you have?
- Oya Thomas: LOL. I think most of my talents I share openly and anything that is a hidden talent I will let that stay hidden.
Trainer Z: You are widely recognized as a singer, actress, author, motivational speaker, and life coach. Focusing on your career aspirations; 5 – 10 years from now, where do you see yourself?
- Oya Thomas: I see myself doing what I do on a larger scale with a much bigger platform to share my voice of Love with plenty of laughter and good times. I look forward to traveling more and really connecting with people to make a difference and inspire people and give them real tools to manifest their dream and live their life purpose.
Trainer Z: If you could change just one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
- Oya Thomas: LOL. 1 thing … Ok, for people to keep it real but hey I think that is in any industry but especially in the entertainment and music world, it is interesting to see the mask people wear. It would be nice for people to show up 100% the way they are. I am not talking about the creation of an act for entertainment. No, I am talking about a real person and who they are for real and not feeling like they have to say or do something that is not who they are. Pretending they have more or pretending to be someone else to sell records. Like I remember listening to a project one time from an artist that was rapping about selling drugs but he never sold drugs a day in his life. I knew this kid, I grew up with him and I am like are you serious? If he had, I would have been fine with it. Share your story and your pain but he was doing it because it was the cool thing to do. He wanted to be hard and pretend to sell records. Share your story not someone else. Be who you are!
Trainer Z: What words of advice can you give to aspiring singers and recording artists?
- Oya Thomas: Take care of yourself, study, practice and if you really know you can sing; there is a place for you to be heard. Go for it but never compromise who you are to succeed.
Trainer Z: Now let’s talk fitness. What specific fitness goal(s) are you currently focused on?
- Oya Thomas: Taking care of myself. Again, my instrument is my body so I not only want to take care of myself but I have to. I want to look good and feel good so I stay on my fitness. That includes the way that I eat and workout.
Trainer Z: Please share with us some specific details about your current exercise/workout routine. What type of exercises, how many days per week do you exercise, and how long are your exercise/workout sessions?
- Oya Thomas: I enjoy a variety of different types of exercises, it keeps it fun and interesting to me, from walking and jogging on the beach to yoga, pilates, and my favorite is boxing. At the very minimum; 3 days when my schedule is busy like recently but I prefer 5. My typical workout is about an hour or hour and 1/2 and if it is a more open day, I may do 2 workouts. One serious workout like boxing or with a trainer and one lighter workout like a walk, jog or yoga. I love walking, so I can be found walking everywhere. I will not drive places and just walk. So I’m pretty much walking every day!
Trainer Z: What’s on your fitness playlist, what genres of music or current songs do you listen to while you’re exercising/working out?
- Oya Thomas: I like listening to uptempo hip-hop, funk, soul, pop and rock tunes. I just love all types of uptempo music as long as it keeps me going.
Trainer Z: What foods do you generally consume within your typical fitness day?
- Oya Thomas: I enjoy consuming a healthy plant-based diet free of additives preservatives and soy. I prefer to eat all natural items that are delicious and nutritious to give me energy for my active lifestyle.
Trainer Z: What words of encouragement can you share with people who struggle to consistently make fitness a part of their lifestyle?
- Oya Thomas: You are worth it. Your body needs you to make up your mind to get up and do it. You need to set a plan. We have enough hours in the day that if you only have 30 minutes to take a walk, go and do it. You will be surprised what that 30 minutes a day will do for you. Set the plan and push yourself to go even when you do not want to. You have to condition the mind sometimes more than the body. The body can do it but your mind will stop you if you let it. Go do it! Find something that you enjoy and do it. Don’t pick something you know you do not like and can’t commit. Do something that you enjoy and go do it. When you are done you will be so happy you did it. You have to get into the habit of doing it every day. Condition your mind and your body will follow and you will look up and your body will have transformed. You will feel better, look better and most important will feel amazing that you kept the promise to yourself.
Trainer Z: What outdoor sports do you enjoy playing?
- Oya Thomas: Volleyball. I grew up playing volleyball in Jr. High and High School and still enjoy a good game now.
Trainer Z: What indoor hobbies do you enjoy most?
- Oya Thomas: I like to play pool and bowl.
Personality and Lifestyle Questions for Oya:
The series of questions and answers listed below will give us an insightful glimpse into Oya’s personality and/or lifestyle. How well can you relate to her???
- Extrovert or Introvert?
– Both sometimes I like to have super fun and be outside with lots of people. I like to go to concerts and go dancing and other times I like to be at home and be totally quiet and read a book or watch a movie.
- Christmas or Thanksgiving?
- City Life or Country Life?
– I enjoy the city life. I grew up a city girl but I really enjoy the slower pace of country lifestyle. The people, animals/nature and fresh air and open space.
- Camping Out or Hotels and Room Service?
– Camping Out, creating memories by the fire, singing, cooking, connecting.
- African Safari or Tropical Retreat?
– African Safari. Always wanted to do one of those.
- Cats or Dogs?
– Both and any other animal in existence. Biggest animal lover on earth.
- Paintings or Sculptures?
– Painting; love the colors and story.
- Coloring Book or Canvas Painting?
– Coloring book because it takes me back to my childhood. I am a big kid. Give me an excuse to have some crayons with coloring book with a kid and I am in. Have you seen the beginning intro to the Oya show? LOL; I have crayons and coloring there. LOL!
- Indoor Rock/Wall Climbing or Indoor Skydiving?
– Did the rock/wall climbing so Indoor Skydiving – I have jumped out a plane and did the skydiving already but I want to do the indoor skydive thing. On the list.
- Boot Camp Workout Class or Yoga Class?
– I need both.
- Elliptical or Treadmill?
– Treadmill with some good music to get my jog on but I prefer the beach, but the treadmill will do when that is all I have.
- Phone Talking or Texting?
– Phone talking; this texting thing is way out of hand. TALK people TALK, real-time, hear the voice and energy of the person. No confusion. You hear their tone and all is clear.
- Board Games or Video Games?
– Connecting with people around the table, laughing loud over a board game.
- Checkers or Chess?
- Dramas or Sci-Fi Movies?
– Really like Drama’s but nothing like a good Sci-Fi movie!
- Live Plays or Movies?
– Love going out to a good play. Feel the human experience and energy of what is going on upon the stage.
- Comedy Club or Music Lounge?
– Hey; got to go with music first as an artist. Love to hear great music. That is a close one though because I love to laugh laugh laugh, but yes music.
- Baseball Caps or Headbands?
– LA baseball cap all day!
- Watching Baseball or Watching Basketball?
- Summer Olympics or Winter Olympics?
– Summer Olympics.
- Nature Hikes or Skiing?
– I love nature and long walks/hikes.
- Golf Course or Miniature Golf?
– Golf Course and love the visits from the squirrels on a golf course.
- Merry-Go-Rounds or Roller Coasters?
– Big kid wants the merry go round but the big girl wants the rush of the roller coaster.
- Candlelight Dinners or Picnics?
– Candlelight dinner; ah how romantic.
- Cherries or Grapes?
– Cherries – good cherries in season; hmmmm that is everything; LOL.
- Mangos or Nectarines?
- Honey Dew Melon or Watermelon?
Trainer Z: There you have it; she is Oya Thomas. Thank you much Oya for taking the time to share with us; you and your gifts are greatly appreciated. We look forward to your upcoming projects and to also ‘Spotlighting’ you again in the future…
To preview and/or purchase Oya’s music or books; Click on the links below.
- Spirit of Oya CD
- The 5 STAR POINTS FOR SUCCESS Book and/or Audiobook
To contact and/or connect with Oya; Click on the links below.