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Rebirthed Above Ground: An Interview with Navasha Daya

March 27, 2013 2 Comments

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It has officially been one year since the launch of the Living in the Light blog.  I am so grateful for each and every one of you who has followed my spiritual journey over the past year, and for those of you that are new to the site.  I appreciate all of the encouragement along the way as I shared my deepest struggles and brightest triumphs on the path.  I truly look forward to continuing to spread Love and Light through this blog and beyond!

Just one year ago, I was just coming out of a state of deep depression and anxiety.  A couple days before starting this blog, I was sitting in meditation, and I asked the Spirit to reveal the purpose and highest vision for my life.  The response I received was that I was to share my journey, including my struggles, publicly.  For me, someone who had spent her entire life maintaining the outward appearance of “having it all together,” this was a major step out of the comfort zone.  Shortly after, I was guided to listen to the song “Live in the Light” by Fertile Ground.  As I listened to the lyrics, tears began to flow.  I knew exactly what I was going to name the blog, and why I needed to share my story.  And, as the old saying goes, the rest is history.

So, today, I am honored to share this interview with the former lead singer of Fertile Ground, Navasha Daya, who has recently released her solo album, “Rebirthed Above Ground.”  I have recently had the opportunity to get to know her beyond the music, and know that she is a woman who truly walks the talk and lives in the Light.  She has helped me tremendously on my own journey.  I am grateful for the opportunity to share her inspiring words and music with you all!

 Navasha Daya is a songwriter, composer, producer, vocalist and is internationally recognized as a breathtaking performer. She is an artist with a purpose, captivating audiences and winning the hearts of fans everywhere with healing lyrics for a world in need of inspiration and upliftment. For the past decade, Navasha served as lead vocalist, songwriter, and co-founder of the highly acclaimed soul, funk, jazz band, Fertile Ground (now defunct); and dubbed one of the fore-mothers of the underground/ indie soul movement.  4LPs, international tours and thousands of performances later, Navasha has emerged as a solo artist sharing her genre-busting powerhouse of originality and soul-stirring lyrics. Navasha has taught and mentored many children, youth and young adults in the creative & performing arts and serves as a Co-Founder & The Director of the Healing and Performing Arts of the Youth Resiliency Institute. As a trained, certified and committed holistic wellness practitioner, Reiki master Teacher, Spiritual Counselor and Ordained Interfaith Minister, she also established the Spiritual Arts and Science Institute, which designs and administers mental, emotional and holistic services, workshops, private sessions and women’s healing circles. Navasha’s voice has been recently called – “The true definition of Soulful” by Grammy-Award winning artist India.Arie. Continuing the musical legacy of her cousin, the late great Gil Scott Heron, Navasha Daya is currently performing spot dates to promote her debut solo EP “Rebirthed Above Ground.”

Kandace: Just before starting this blog, I was in meditation and was guided to share my spiritual journey publicly.  After meditation, I had an overwhelming urge to listen to your song “Live in the Light” from the “Black Is…” Fertile Ground album.  After listening to the lyrics, I knew exactly why I was guided to that particular song.  That’s where the title for the blog, Living in the Light came from!  It means a lot that on the one year anniversary of the blog, I’m interviewing the woman who sang the song so beautifully.  Thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to do this interview.  What was the inspiration behind the lyrics of the song “Live in the Light?”  

Navasha Daya: In singing this song it always brings me back to a story about my mother. When I was a child, my mother and father would sit my siblings and I down and speak of things that pertained to our self- growth. There was one time where my mother spoke about “the light” and “the darkness.” She explained how they showed up in the world through actions, values, and energy. She encouraged us to visualize a white light of protection around us any time we felt afraid or the need to be spiritually covered. One afternoon she asked me and my siblings, “Who wants to live in the light?” and we all raised our hands. Then she asked, “Who is willing to die for the light?”  That is the dedication that I have come to live in my daily life – living without fear.  I don’t purposely put myself in harms way, but I have no fear of the darkness.  I really work to have no fear at all…we all have a shadow side…So in my healing and self-development work, I face and address the light and the darkness within myself in every thought and deed; and I strive and desire to truly “Live in the Light” in every moment.

Kandace: I’ve been listening to your old and new music a lot lately, and am always truly moved by the lyrics.  Your words are so powerful, and provide such helpful spiritual guidance and inspiration.  You have a fascinating life story, and I know your spiritual development was cultivated from childhood.  Would you mind sharing with Living in the Light readers a little about your spiritual upbringing, and in what ways that inspires your lyrics?  

Navasha Daya: Thank you. I remember meditating with my parents at home when I was 3yrs. old. I remember going to church and watching my parents sing in the choir. I remember learning about Islam, practicing Kriya Yoga, and telling my friends, when asked what religion I practiced, that I was a yogi.  I remember eating delicious prasad (vegetarian food offered to God in a ceremonial way) at the Bhakti Yoga temple in Cleveland, OH; and singing songs with my family about ending apartheid in South Africa. I remember going through a formal rites of passage process as young girl. It was an awesome upbringing that I didn’t totally appreciate until college. I feel both the spiritual experiences of my childhood and the consciousness it cultivated is what I share in my music. The values that were instilled such as: There is a spiritual war within us and out in the world; No one can control you but yourself, so the practice of self-control and discipline are tools for your success; and that true success is not dictated by the money you make, but by the impact you make on society.  They also stressed the importance of respect and equality, specifically as it relates to men and women.

I was always reminded of the meaning of my name and taught early that your name provides a road map to your life and character. My name “Navashawas inspired by lake Naivasha in Kenya, and my parents gave it the meaning “Bright as the light of God,” and my name “Daya” means “Compassionate towards all Beings” in Sanskrit. My desire as a songwriter is to be a voice for the voiceless and to bring another perspective to popular culture and life. There are a myriad of personalities and popular culture seems to show only a few types of personalities and views. So, I desire to channel music and lyrics that inspire and remind my listeners of their greatness, their purpose, and ultimately inspire integrity, justice, love, joy and peace.

Kandace: I’m not sure how many fans know that you are an Ordained Interfaith Minister, Reiki Master, and Holistic Wellness Practitioner.  Do you consider your music to be an extension of your healing ministry?  In what ways?  

Navasha Daya: I am invested in both the healing and development of myself and others. So, yes, (smile) who I am is who I am all the time. I may have different moods, but I am not fragmented. I truly feel the influence of being a healer as I write songs. Thus, the writing and creation of the songs “Peace & Love” and “Star People.” I also write songs from the perspective of being a woman, like “Changing Woman.” I am a woman that honors all of my ancestry (African, Native American, and honorable European), a woman that has been hurt, a woman who allowed herself to be emotionally abused, a woman who has listened for hours as a friend or family member searches for answers to their life dilemma, a woman who honors her family and husband…and so on…

I remember witnessing bullying, sadness, abuse, anger, substance abuse, self-hatred, and racism in the community as a child and feeling a deep desire to assist and change what I witnessed…I have not changed. I am still optimistic that those who desire to Live in the Light will & do. I also realize there are some who do not want any assistance and are comfortable where they are. This is what I do – provide a space for healing, dancing, and celebration.

Kandace: The title of your latest album seems to symbolize your evolution.  In what ways have your music and lyrics grown from the days of Fertile Ground to your new album, Rebirthed Above Ground?

Navasha Daya: Well, I co-founded and was a songwriter for Fertile Ground, and as such, was instrumental in the development of the Fertile Ground sound. I now have a sense of liberation from a controlling energy that stifled my creative growth and confidence as a woman. My new EP is a natural progression that reflects my growth and freedom as a woman and artist. I am deeply rooted in a variety of genres including soul, funk, jazz, blues, hip-hop along with acapella singing and vocal percussion. And that filter of influence is the sound you will hear on my debut solo EP “Rebirthed Above Ground.”

Kandace: You have such a balance, grace, and poise about you.  What advice would you have for those who are struggling to find balance and inner peace?  Also, can you describe what your daily practice looks like?  

Navasha Daya: I appreciate your kind words. Like everyone else, I am a work in progress. I have had and still have great teachers and mentors in my life who have assisted me in my development in every area of my life. I feel that my intention and deep desire to improve, be balanced, and stay in the “flow” of Divine Will affords me the opportunity to experience great joy, confidence and peace. My goal and desire is to maintain peace of mind – I have not mastered that yet– but I am working on it (lol)!

My day to day spiritual activities involve prayer, chanting, singing, meditation, mindfulness.  At this point I am working to live the teachings and apply them in my daily life. It is much easier to be isolated and work on your development than it is to interact with others in society and maintain balance, joy, and peace of mind.

In lieu of giving advice, I would instead like to pose 3 questions:

When you make your transition to spirit and are no longer walking this earth, what impact do you want to have had on society, how do you want to be remembered, and what do you want to leave behind?

Kandace: I get asked frequently for book recommendations.  Of all the inspirational books you have read throughout your studies, which one(s) did you consider to be the most transformational for you and why?  

Of Water and the Spirit” by Patrice Malidoma Some: This was my first account of the “magic side” of African spirituality. I knew of stories from Kmt (Egypt), but “Of Water and the Spirit” is written about this time period. It really intrigued and inspired me…

The Prophet” by Khalil Gibran: Timeless wisdom…

Autobiography of a Yogi” by Paramahansa Yogananda: It shares the journey of someone on a spiritual journey and looking for their guru/ spiritual teacher…

Bhagavadgita As it Is” by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada:  Timeless life teachings and applications…

The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz: This was referred to me by one of my god mothers, Ibae Dr. Mildred McKinney, and when I read the agreement Do not take anything personally, I laughed realizing first why she would refer this book to me, and how this simple agreement would assist me in my relationships and my emotions…

Out on a Limb” by Shirley MacLain: Affirmed the stories of the spirit, searching for something deeper…

Many Lives, Many Masters” by Brian L. Weiss, M.D.:  A great account of the journey to the awareness of past lives…

Tapping the Power Within” by Iyanla Vanzant:  Great guidelines and instructions on creating sacred space within and without…

Spiritual Midwifery” by Ina May Gaskin: As a non-professional Doula, it affirmed the power of woman, the power of trusting our bodies, and the beauty of bringing a soul into this world…

Sacred Woman” by Queen Afua: An African-centered base of honoring ourselves as woman in body, mind and spirit…

And the list goes on…

Kandace: What is your favorite music to wind down to? 

 Navasha Daya: Wow, well music doesn’t always wind me down, because it may get my creative juices going (lol!) But I enjoy relaxing to slow old school soul songs, new age music, vocal jazz with a message like Dianne Reeves’ “Testify,” Cassandra Wilson’s “You move me,” Sheila Chandra’s “Shanti, Shanti, Shanti,”or Nina Simone’s “Come ye.”  I also listen to spiritual music from different cultures with chanting or words in different languages. It depends on my mood and desired outcome.

Kandace: How can Living in the Light readers purchase your music, find out about upcoming shows, and stay connected with you?

Navasha Daya: Living in the Light readers can stay connected to me via my website, The site includes links to my Facebook and Twitter pages, my mailing list, and quick links to purchase my new music (which can be found on popular sites such as iTunes and You can also purchase the EP, and view the song lyrics and song credits at:

Kandace: Thank you again for taking the time to share your Light with us!  You are truly an inspiration!  Peace & Infinite Blessings!

Navasha Daya: It was my pleasure, Thank you!

I hope you all enjoyed this interview as much as I did!  As I mentioned in the “About” section of this site, music is one of my biggest passions; I look forward to sharing more interviews with inspiring artists in the future.  Let us know what you think in the comments.  Also, let me know if you have any recommendations for artists you believe are “Living in the Light,” and I will consider them for feature articles.  Keep shining!


Kandace Jones

Filed in: Inner Peace, Music

About the Author:

I used to live life shackled by fear, doubt, and worry. I put on a happy face while navigating my day-to-day duties, but I was emotionally drained, stressed, and unhappy. When I hit rock bottom, and was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, I was determined to live life differently. I knew there had to be another way. Out of that determination, and guidance from Spirit, the "Living in the Light" blog was born. It documents my spiritual journey out of the darkness and into the Light. After nine months of publicly sharing my journey, and consciously releasing my attachment to the ego, I experienced a powerful spiritual awakening. I went from living in fear, doubt, worry, and stress to complete inner peace. My greatest passion has become assisting others on their own journey to inner peace. My spiritual memoir, From Stress to Peace: An Intimate Journal on the Journey from Living in Darkness to Living in the Light, is available now on Amazon and Click the tabs at the top of the page to learn more about the From Stress to Peace 21-Day Challenge, Living in the Light Retreats, 1:1 sessions, and the Living in the Light Community - all of which are designed to support your journey to inner peace. I appreciate you taking the time to visit the blog and look forward to supporting you in any way I can!