Usually I think up a memorable but connecting Interview Title. I laughed a lot while posting this one and forgot. LOL And then realized... TOY!!! This lady is truly on fire! Toy is all over the place, Singing, Acting, Voice Overs, keeping it funny. Her career is on the move and so is she! Her energy is sure to get anyone motivated and her outlook on life is full of positive funk and we love it! With her upcoming CD and more I was fortunate to catch up with her for this interview.
TOY !!! What a ball of fire you are! Talking about Living in Color! I think I have to ask first and foremost…what fuels that fire in you?
My mom says I was born a hot rod, I don't know... maybe we should FIRST interview her to see what was fueling HER when I was born. :-) Just Kidding. Really, I can't say exactly WHERE it comes from other than I've just always known what I've wanted to do, and that has kept me excited about life. Also, I love people. PEOPLE fuel me. I love to relate to them, understand them-- what makes them tick, what makes them happy, what hurts them, why they do what they do... As far as I can clearly recall (probably as early as about 3 or 4) I was always drawn to the stage. I just remember feeling compelled to reach people... to talk to them, touch them, entertain them... Life itself and especially LOVE... and the Human Experience... all of that fuels me.
You have so many things going on, Voiceovers, Comedy, Singing, An upcoming Album… is there anything you want to do that you haven’t tapped yet?
COMEDY??? REALLY?? That one I’ve only recently been made aware of! The quirky sense of humor runs in my family on BOTH SIDES though, so I can't help it. I've never viewed myself as anything close to a comedian and I'm afraid to imagine how that might turn out if I TRIED to be funny for a living :-) But...
1) I would love to get into my writing more seriously and consistently. Writing was one of my first loves and I express myself more colorfully through writing more than speaking-- be it a blog, a song, a short story, a book, a tweet, a FB status :-) No one can interrupt you, argue with you, or question you when you're writing. You have time to think and re-think and formulate EXACTLY what you want to say. Plus, I think MUCH faster than I speak so, naturally I feel much safer putting my thoughts on paper... :-)
2) I'm looking forward to doing a lot of on-camera work. A film even! Actually, I would LOVE to do an action film! EVEN BETTER, I would love to do an action film with a hardcore fight scene!! I need to whup some *ss on film. That would make me happy. :-)
3) I have a few projects/websites that are not in the LEAST bit music or voiceover related that I'm very excited about. I'm looking forward to sharing myself & my ideals from different platforms that people are probably not expecting. Keeping my entrepreneurial spirit alive offstage and off-mic is very important to me, so I look forward to developing those things.
A Preachers daughter… How did you get here?
Many preachers' kids in entertainment get their start in church, so yes, that was my story also. But, mine went a little different in the sense that it was first by MY OWN initiative and not my parent’s idea. I was playing piano and singing at about 3 and while church was the natural outlet to do so, it didn't last very long for me, though. As soon as I was old enough to become self-conscious and develop my own opinions, I stopped. I was very strong-minded, I had a lot to say, and early enough I realized that church was probably not the best place to start a fight and vent my frustrations to music, LOL... I ended up writing a lot of poetry which eventually turned into writing raps, and by about age 15, I was a local "success" opening shows for a few major rap acts and selling my own tapes at school! My uncle helped me start my own "label" and he trademarked my name--MC TOY (shut up, LOL)-- then after college the journey to NY began, and then came songwriting and singing, and so on and so forth.. And here I am still.
But after a certain age (high school), other than continuing to help guide me in the right direction spiritually, my parents gave me freedom to make my own decisions, which I always appreciated.
What was it like as a child and what effect did being a Preachers daughter have on your Journey?
Well much like now, as a kid I spent a lot of time IN MY HEAD and in books. I was never ever ever without a pen & paper & books WHEREVER I went--even carried encyclopedias & dictionaries back and forth to school in kindergarten...(weird, LOL) I only wanted to learn and to write and the more I knew and wrote, I felt powerful. I felt like I could create anything I wanted to, which I think is a very important attitude to have as a child. As a Preacher's daughter, I got a very stable spiritual foundation to go along with that attitude. I loved that my parents taught me about having a relationship with God (and lived by example), taught me right from wrong, set up some basic rules, and then left me free to be MYSELF & choose my own path. That's the best gift they could've given me. I was a quirky, flamboyant, independent, intense and very sensitive (middle) child, and they gave me freedom—never making demands on what I was to be interested in or controlling my pursuits, they just supported.
I remember once at about 8 years old responding via phone to a casting call out of town for a major stage play and setting up my own audition all without their knowledge. I only asked that they drive me to the audition 1 hr away, and I went and booked the part! And around 10 I remember writing "a novel" and mailing it off to be published (which the publisher politely rejected, LOL). I was very headstrong, and my parents always supported and rarely tried to restrict my creativity/free-spirited nature. I'm most grateful for that, and for their instilling a sense of spirituality in me...that's the only way I make it through everything else that goes with having a personality like mine. :-)
Of the many things you do, what is your favorite?
Music and writing were my first passions, but everything I do relies on and feeds off the other to help keep me interested and balanced. I can be so focused and intense at times, I think I'd become easily overwhelmed if I only did one thing. I like having many outlets, and they all play well together.
Tell us a little bit about your Charity and where people can get more info on it.
The charity, called The TOY!!!BOX Music Project, was created to inspire youth towards music education and learning live instrumentation. I also do annual live benefit performances around the holidays to collect musical toys for underprivileged kids. Right now I'm in the process of completely restructuring the organization... I'm looking for another angle now, somehow using music to aid kids in coping with their day to day experiences. I want to find an angle to help them deal with their emotions. I'm still working out details, but for now the annual benefit portion still remains.
I love your song ‘He Don’t. Got me to booty shaking in a happy happy joy joy way. Did you write it?
Funny you should ask. That is the only song on my project I did NOT write. Haha! (Hmm are you trying to give me a hint, Stephanie LOL.) The song was written by Josh Dicker and Joe Pedulla, who had initially approached me to reference the song as a demo to be shopped and pitched to another artist. People still recognized my signature sound despite my trying to deliver a straight reference, and responded favorably to the demo. Two years later the song was still available so I asked them to let me include it on my own project.
I've always preferred to write my own songs because of my own needs to express what drew me to music anyway. But I really believed in this one and was attached from the moment I heard it-- I had to have it. I secretly think my strong attachment vibes may have possibly blocked that song from anyone else's claws for those two years. Ha Ha! I just had to wait it out & wear them down, right?
'I’m Fire' is a funky jazzy number. It’s you isn’t it? (Right on! LOL)
Yes! It’s my funky theme song. On my down days I hire a band to follow me down the street playing it as I run errands. It'll get you your groove back... try it, it works. :-)
Who are some of your influences in life?
My mom is the biggest. I live by the WWMS (what would mama say) as well as the WWJD (What would Jesus Do) philosophy, Ha Ha! I admire and respect her more than anyone else in the world... she's my BFF AKA MOM. :-)
TOY!!! Your are a bundle of energy. What keeps you going and what slows you down?
I'll have to say that I am extreme on both ends of the spectrum (up & down) and that I am the cause or motivator for both... (mood swings, LOL.) I tend to live in my head, so whatever perspectives my thoughts and attitude have taken on are pretty much responsible for my energy (mood swings, LOL). Feeling like I have the power to influence or impact or inspire usually drives me (gives me energy). Feeling misunderstood, impatient, confused-- that slows me down... (mood swings, LOL).
You do a lot of Voiceovers. What do you think would spark most people’s memory of your voice over’s?
Probably the one that is getting most exposure right now, the Old Navy Supermodelquins campaign, where I play the voice of Michelle. That character is very close to my own general attitude and sense of humor in most cases. Art imitating life, huh? :-)
Maybe they'll remember my voice from a couple of the VH1 Hip Hop Honors shows or narrating a Video Vixen documentary a few years back? Or voicing a few video games recently (Need 4 Speed- Undercover and Midnight Club LA) or (UNCF's) An Evening of Stars Tribute to Patti Labelle and one to Lionel Richie ... Or "Go Diego Go" on Nickelodeon?
There’s a soon to be CD. What other things can we look forward to from you as far as projects?
Well, you'll have to keep watching and listening to find out... I'm quite a spontaneous creature. *muahhahahaaaaahh*
Where can readers find out more about TOY!!! and listen to your Music?
My main site TEEOHWHY.com will be relaunching soon along with music/video release
and ALL details, updates and EVERYTHING TOY!!! will be there as soon as it becomes available!
Thank you so much for chatting with us TOY!!! It was a pleasure to interview you! Make sure to update us on the release of your CD and other events!
See you next interview! Live In Color!